January 26, 2007

WH Deputy Comms Director Pulls Back Curtain on PR Tactics

Catherinemartin_1 WP's Dana Milbank looks at how Thursday's testimony at Scooter Libby's trial by White House Deputy Comms Director Catherine Martin (right) laid bare some of the WH's comms techniques.  Highlights:

  • "With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. 'Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday,' she said. 'Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday.'"
  • "She walked the jurors through how the White House coddles friendly writers and freezes out others. To deal with the Wilson controversy, she hastily arranged a Cheney lunch with conservative commentators."
  • "She put 'Meet the Press' at the top of her list of 'Options' but noted that it might appear 'too defensive.' Next, she proposed 'leak to Sanger-Pincus-newsmags. Sit down and give to them.'
  • "For all the elaborate press management, things didn't always go according to plan. Martin described how Time wound up with an exclusive one weekend because she didn't have a phone number for anybody at Newsweek."

We'll say this: this trial has to be creating some very awkward moments among the WH staff.

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