Public Relations

No Credit for Bankers

The former chairman of the banking and insurance group HBOS, Lord Stevenson, and chief executive Andy Hornby, along with the Royal Bank of Scotland's Sir Tom McKillop and Sir Fred Goodwin, appeared before a British parliamentary committee and profusely apologized for their role in the financial meltdown of the banks they had directed. If the four thought their apologies would garner sympathy, they misread the public mood.

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Consultants Rush in to Help Russia

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, MoscowThe public relations firm Ketchum, which "works with the highest levels of Russia's Government and the state-owned energy monopoly Gazprom," has hired the Alston & Bird lobby firm to work on the account. The lobby firm "of former Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Tom Daschle will deal with trade, energy, economic and politico-military issues at a $35K-a-month rate," at least through the end of May 2009, reports O'Dwyer's. Russia paid Ketchum $2.9 million from August 2008 to January 2009. The PR firm helped Russia finesse its invasion of Georgia in August 2008 and its cutting off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. The firm secured a CNN interview for Vladimir Putin, "coordinated President Dmitry Medvedev's Council on Foreign Relations event (in November 2008), organized a meeting for Washington reporters with Kremlin spokesperson Alexey Pavlov and arranged a Wall Street Journal meeting with Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev." Previously, Ketchum placed Russia-themed paid supplements in the Washington Post and helped Putin become Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2007.

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Developer's Casino in a Velvet Glove

J. Scott Trubey reports that documents, obtained under Georgia's freedom of information laws, revealed that Fleishman-Hillard (F-H) had been hired by Georgia Lottery to sell the concept of the state's first casino to legislators, business leaders and the public. Underground Atlanta, a shopping complex, was mentioned as a possible site for the introduction of a casino.

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Why Blago Blitzed

There was a method behind now-former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's decision to skip most of his impeachment trial and go on the talk show circuit, writes PR Week. "PR pros know," the magazine wrote, "that Blagojevich's goal likely wasn't to retain his seat as governor, but to defend his reputation and prepare for his next objective.

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