Several opinion columns praising Russia and published in the last two years on CNBC's web site and the Huffington Post were written by seemingly independent professionals but were placed on behalf of the Russian government by its public-relations firm, Ketchum. The columns, written by two businessmen, a lawyer, and an academic, heap praise on the Russian government for its "ambitious modernization strategy" and "enforcement of laws designed to better protect business and reduce corruption." One of the CNBC opinion pieces, authored by an executive at a Moscow-based investment bank, concludes that "Russia may well be the most dynamic place on the continent." There's nothing unusual about Ketchum's work on behalf of Russia. Public relations firms constantly peddle op-eds on behalf of politicians, corporations, and governments. Rarely if ever do publications disclose the role of a PR firm in placing an op-ed, so it's unusual to get a glimpse behind the scenes and see how an … [Read more...] about From Russia with PR: Seemingly independent opinion columns on CNBC, Huffington Post were placed on behalf of Russian government
POLITICS 08/07/2018 07:11 am ET "If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet." By Lee Moran At the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Mike Pence penned two opinion columns calling for former President Bill Clinton to quit or be removed from office. But the current vice president’s moralistic writings from the late ’90s and early 2000s, which CNN unearthed from the Wayback Machine internet archive on Monday, have not aged well. Pence’s preachy prose on how presidents should behave, in particular, seems irreconcilable with the conduct of President Donald Trump. In the above column, titled “The Two Schools Of Thought On Clinton” that was posted on the now-deleted website for Pence’s Indiana talk radio show, Pence argued the office of president required its incumbent to be of the highest integrity. Pence wrote: If you … [Read more...] about These Old Mike Pence Columns On How A President Should Behave Have Not Aged Well
August 7, 2018 By Jeremy Alford You ain’t nobody in Louisiana politics until somebody works for you. And there are plenty of people being hired by the five major candidates for secretary of state right now. It's the only statewide election on the fall ballot, so presumably that's where the money will show up. Presumably. All of the top contenders already have campaign managers or general consultants, and a few even have media consultants lined up as well. But don’t geek out too hard about the forthcoming attack ads. If political tradition holds, the unofficial start of the 2018 election season this year will be Sept. 3, which is also Labor Day. That’s no coincidence. For many, many moons, consultants, candidates and reporters have pointed to Labor Day as the launching point for media buys, key messaging and hardcore election maneuvering. That hasn't always been the case, though, and recent years have seen campaigns unrolling critical … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Has It Started Yet?
August 14, 2018 By Jeremy Alford ALFORD: Approach To Constitution Requires Caution It has been three months since the Louisiana Legislature concluded its regular session without addressing the war cry for a constitutional convention. Sure, it passed a set of resolutions honoring the 45th anniversary of the 1973 con-con, but supporters were hoping for more of a forward-looking response. Opponents, as you could guess, were just fine with that outcome. At the top of the list of non-supporters was Gov. John Bel Edwards, who isn’t necessarily against the idea. He just believes there should be an informed buildup to a convention, and that clear objectives should be stated after considerable study. Interestingly enough, Edwards’ own history dovetails with neatly with this very topic, since his father was a delegate in 1973. So was the grandfather of Richard Carbo, the governor’s deputy chief of staff. We don't need a roll call of delegate to know that Edwards is right, … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: An Official Con-Con Reminder
August 21, 2018 By Jeremy Alford Not too long ago, at least in reporter years, I was utilizing the space in this weekly column with some regularity to write about the loss of influence and clout in Louisiana's congressional delegation. In doing so, I was probably repeating rather than reporting from Baton Rouge's echo chamber. Cooler heads knew there was an uncomplicated explanation, supported by recent history, that I had largely ignored — and that was the cyclical nature of political trends. As I reflected on this theme over the weekend, it occurred to me that the storyline was a staple for political opinion writers in the Bayou State from 2003 to 2014. Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux exited elected life first, followed by Congressman Billy Tauzin, which prompted worry about the lack of locals in key leadership and committee positions. The defeat of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu years later, in concert with turnover in the House, provoked similar outcries. Looking further … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Dismissing Congressional Clout Concerns