It’s pretty questionable for anyone who works for a lobbying or public relations firm to also host a news show on which issues of interest to those clients’ are likely to be discussed — as we told you MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe does.
But to get a sense of just how compromised Wolffe really is on this, it’s worth taking a look at the clients of the P.R. firm he works for — Texas-based Public Strategies Inc.
P.S.I. — which is run by former Bush White House communications guru Dan Bartlett, and has been described by one Texas reporter as “the closest thing to a safe landing spot back home for at least some of the refugees of the Bush years,” — doesn’t legally have to disclose who it works for. But a quick survey of previous reporting reveals some interesting names:
• In 2008, P.S.I. used daily emails to promote military contractor Northrop Grumman’s campaign to convince the military to buy its KC-45 tanker.
• This year, P.S.I. signed a six-month, $300,000 deal with the Republic of Georgia. The firm agreed to work at “enhancing through western media the reputation of the Republic of Georgia government.” The Georgian government has needed that help since last fall, when its claim that last summer’s brief war with Russia was triggered by an unprovoked Russian attack began to unravel.
• P.S.I. also worked last year for a coalition of corporations — including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly, Exxon Mobil, G.E., GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto, Merck, and Phizer — that wanted to make sure that patent reform legislation didn’t threaten their interests.
None of this is particularly scandalous, Washington being what it is. But when MSNBC tells its viewers about Wolffe’s ties to P.S.I. — as it has now told us it will — it’s worth having a detailed idea of who the firm represents, and what sorts of issues its clients tend to be pushing.