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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The EU's crisis PR - update

Some more developments on Ethan Winner, the PR hit-man hired by the Commission to set up a "crisis communications" unit to promote the EU. His firm specialises in helping large organisations get round 'problems' - click here for more on his past record.

There been much debate on the US blogosphere in recent days on Winner's activities in the US Presidential election. See here, here, here and here.

Responding to original accusations made on the Jawa Report, Winner has admitted to distributing a video designed to smear Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin (the video was behind the row over Palin's alleged support for Alaskan independence).

According to Jawa, Winner's company has a past record of producing fake 'grassroot style' messages designed to look like they did not originate from an organized campaign, a practice know as “astroturfing”.

Will we see similar tactics being adopted by the pro-Treaty camp in the second Irish referendum on Lisbon? The stakes are high and they will not be pulling their punches...

There is still uncertainty (and some scepticism) over whether the Democrats were complicit in Winner's video. But whoever initiated the action, we can be certain that it was not funded by American taxpayers.

The same cannot be said for Winner's new campaign to promote the EU - you will be footing the bill whether you like it or not.

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