Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Ad Infinitum

In yesterday's meltdown of a press release, Sen. Lieberman's spokeswoman Marion Steinfels bizarrely went after Bill Hillsman, who is responsible for Ned Lamont's recent innovative ads, for having worked for non-Democratic candidates in the past. Hillsman's ads are thought to have been crucial in getting the late Paul Wellstone elected to the senate for the first time, as well as to the success of Democratic campaigns in Colorado and around the country. Like most ad firms, he's done work for people across the political spectrum, but with a special focus on outsider candidates (like Jesse Ventura and Kinky Friedman), being an outsider to the usual D.C. firms himself.

It's ridiculous and more than a little pathetic to respond to the charges of ad by attacking the producer of that ad for having worked for independent candidates in the past. Advertising is a profession, and almost all firms cross party lines once in a while. And Hillsman in particular made his name electing the most prominent progressive senator of the last 20 years. If any campaign should want his name featured prominently in the press, it's the Lamont campaign.

But if Joe's going to go the "glass houses" route, let's take a look at the people who are doing his ads, the super-beltway-insider Glover Park Group. Their recent work includes ad campaigns for such staunchly Democratic and progressive interests as Pfizer, Smirnoff Vodka, MCI-Worldcom, and the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Association of America.

Most interesting is Glover Park's stealth work for Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp., at whose behest Lieberman's firm secretly created a fake grassroots organization ("Don't Count Us Out") in order to pressure Nielsen to refrain from making changes in their TV ratings system. As the above article notes, Glover Park lied about the group's origins:

Don't Count Us Out describes itself as "a coalition of minority leaders, community groups, producers, directors, actors and everyday viewers concerned about fair and accurate television ratings. We think it is time that Nielsen is finally held account [sic] for their efforts." Unlike many websites, however, DCUO's doesn't provide a list a members, a board of directors, a blurb about its founders -- all the info you typically expect from an advocacy group.

So NewsCorp's proxy, the special-interest group DCUO, used "a campaign to disrupt Nielsen's operations in which 'calls and e-mails were targeted at Nielsen executives, shutting down their corporate switchboard.' "

Is Glover Park planning on pulling similar dirty tricks for Lieberman in this campaign?

It'll be worth watching out for.

Update: Matt Stoller had a whole lot more to say about the Glover Park Group earlier this month.
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