Toby Moffett is a well-connected Washington lobbyist employed at the Livingston Group, a powerful lobby firm begun by former Republican representative Robert Livingston.
Candidates, delegates, protesters and media aren't the only folks attending the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer. Lobbyists, by the thousands, are doing "what amounts to the only real work going on at the convention - the nonstop currying of favor of elected officials by the most powerful interests in the country," the Washington Post writes.
The CIA's favorite PR firm, "the Rendon Group is playing a major behind-the-scenes role at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, arranging first-time/real-time video broadcasts each morning to each of the 56 caucuses, serving as the event's project manager, and coordinating 20 convention-related events, Rick Rendon, co-founder of the firm, told O'Dwyer's. Rendon hired Polycom Video Systems to set up secure servers in 22 hotels so leading Democrats can address each caucus at their 8 a.m.
"The Business Industry Political Action Committee's 'Prosperity Project' program targets 20 million employees in battleground states" and "pushes their companies' views of political candidates to employees via Web sites and interoffice e-mails," reports Advertising Age.
In his essay, "A Cultural Approach to Communication," Columbia University journalism professor James W. Carey identifies two views of communication -- "transmission" and "ritual." In Carey's words, the "ritual view" is communication "linked to terms such as 'sharing,' 'participation,' 'association,' 'fellowship,' and the 'possession of a common faith.' ...
PBS anchor Jim Lehrer blasted the major TV networks for limited coverage of the political conventions, since "we're about to elect a president of the United States at a time when we have young people dying in our name overseas, [and] we just had a report from the 9/11 commission which says we are not safe." NBC's Tom Brokaw countered, "These conventions are so managed, so over-managed" there's not much to report.
"One cannot conceive of other elements [that could be] put in place to create a space that's more of an affront to the idea of free expression," said U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, after touring the Democratic National Convention's "free speech" protest zone in Boston. The zone is "bordered by cement barriers, a double row of chain-line fencing, heavy black netting, and tightly woven plastic mesh," with "coils of razor wire" along elevated train tracks.
"Four years ago, more Americans said they got their political news from the broadcast evening news than cable news, according to a study by Pew Research Center. ...
Center for Public Integrity examines the hidden power of the Koch brothers, the billionaires who launched the corporate front group Citizens for a Sound Economy. "CSE has found itself in hot water in recent weeks over charges it has been working illegally to get consumer activist Ralph Nader on the presidential ballot in Oregon.