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Introduction to Public Relations-Politics and Government

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  • 1. Public Relations Strategies and Tactics Eighth Edition ______________________________________________ Dennis L. Wilcox Glen T. Cameron © 2006 Pearson / Allyn and Bacon New York
  • 2. Chapter 18
    • Politics and Government
  • 3. Topics
    • Government Relations
    • Lobbying
    • Election Campaigns
    • Public Affairs in Government
  • 4. Government Relations Corporate Public Affairs
    • Specialized component of corporate communications
    • Practitioners referred to as public affairs specialists
    The Reason The actions of government at the local, state and federal level have a major impact on how a business operates.
  • 5. Government Relations Corporate Public Affairs
    • The Job
      • To gather information
      • To disseminate management’s views
      • To cooperate with government on projects of
      • mutual benefit
      • To motivate employees to participate in the
      • political process
  • 6. Government Relations Corporate Public Affairs
    • Gathering Information
      • Monitor the activities of legislative and regulatory bodies .
    • Why?
      • To keep track of issues coming up for debate and possible vote
      • To plan ahead
      • To adjust policies
      • To provide information that may influence the
      • nature of government decision making
  • 7. Government Relations Corporate Public Affairs
    • Gathering Information
      • Monitor the activities of legislative and regulatory bodies .
    • How?
      • Trade associations that represent particular
      • industries
      • Frequent trips to Washington D.C. and/or state
      • capitals
      • Company offices located in Washington D.C.
      • and/or state capitals
  • 8. Government Relations Corporate Public Affairs
    • Disseminating management’s views
    • How?
      • Informal office visits to a government official
      • Testimony at a public hearing
      • Giving speeches and/or writing speeches
      • Writing letters and op-head articles, preparing
      • position papers
      • Producing newsletters and placing advocacy ads
  • 9. On The Job insights Skills Needed for Work in Public Affairs
      • Know how public relations and public affairs
      • supports the business goals
      • Be able to distinguish which opponents are credible
      • Be able to integrate all communications functions
  • 10. On The Job insights Skills Needed for Work in Public Affairs
      • Understand how to control key messages
      • Be able to influence without being too partisan
      • Be able to synthesize, filter and validate information
  • 11. On The Job insights Skills Needed for Work in Public Affairs
      • Be Web-savvy and understand information technology
      • Have a global perspective
      • Be able to sustain strong personal relationships
  • 12. Lobbying
    • The use of persuasion tactics to attempt to influence
    • legislation or government decisions
    • A lobbyist directs his or her energies to the defeat,
    • passage, or amendment of proposed legislation and
    • regulatory agency policies
  • 13. Lobbying
    • The Nature of Lobbying
    • Businesses and a variety of special interests engage in lobbying
    • Competing lobbying efforts often cancel each other out
    • Competing lobbying efforts help legislators make informed legislative decisions
  • 14. Lobbying
    • The Nature of Lobbying
    • The top five lobbying groups are:
      • AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
      • The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
      • The National Federation of Independent Business
      • The NRA (National Rifle Association)
      • The AFL-CIO
  • 15. On The Job insights Lobbyists Get into Food Fight
      • The U.S. government’s food pyramid is the subject of much lobbying
      • The food pyramid tells the general public what
      • foods should be in a healthy diet
      • Changes in the food pyramid can swing food
      • companies’ sales by millions of dollars
  • 16. On The Job insights Lobbyists Get into Food Fight
      • Low-carbohydrate diets have impacted the food industry
      • The U.S. Potato Board is lobbying to stay in the food pyramid
      • The baked-goods industry is also defending itself against the emphasis on whole-grain products
      • Meanwhile, the National Dairy Council is lobbying to increase the recommended servings of dairy products
  • 17. Lobbying
    • The Problem of Influence Peddling
    • What is it?
    • The lobbying efforts of former legislators and
    • Government officials who capitalize on their
    • connections and charge large fees.
    • “ It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
  • 18. Lobbying
    • The Problem of Influence Peddling
    • The Ethics in Government Act forbids government officials from actively lobbying their former agencies for one year after leaving office.
    • Members of Congress can become lobbyists immediately
    • Deep public suspicion exists that results from conflicts of interest inherent in influence peddling
  • 19. On The Job insights Advocates Outgunned in Lobbying Showdown
      • Gun control advocates lobbied for the renewal of the federal ban on the manufacture and import of
      • semiautomatic assault weapons
      • Polls showed two-thirds of Americans supported the ban
      • Four former U.S. Presidents, both Democrat and
      • Republican, supported the law
      • Provocative full page ads were placed in major daily newspapers to pressure President Bush to support
      • the ban
  • 20. On The Job insights Advocates Outgunned in Lobbying Showdown
      • The NRA did not support renewing the ban
      • The NRA’s lobbying power is backed by 4
      • million members
      • Despite presidential support, Congress never brought the bill to a vote
      • The ban on semiautomatic assault weapons expired
  • 21. Lobbying
    • A Lobbying Reform Bill
    • Lobbying reform bill signed into law in 1995
    • A lobbyist is defined as
    • “ Someone hired to influence lawmakers, government officials or their aides, and who spend at least 20 percent of his or her time representing any client in a six-month period.”
  • 22. Lobbying
    • A Lobbying Reform Bill
    • Lobbyists are required to:
    • Register with Congress
    • Disclose their clients
    • Disclose the issue areas in which lobbying is being done
    • Disclose roughly how much is being paid for it.
  • 23. Lobbying
    • A Lobbying Reform Bill
    • Lobbyist-paid lavish lunches and drawn out dinners are forbidden
    • Lobbyists are not allowed to buy meals for lawmakers unless there are at least 25 other attendees
    • Senators, their aides and other Senate officers are prohibited from accepting gifts worth more than $50 and from accepting privately paid travel to “recreational events.”
    • Grassroots lobbying is exempted from this bill
  • 24. Lobbying
    • Grassroots Lobbying
    • What is it?
    • An effort to get individuals and groups with no
    • financial interest in an issue to speak on a
    • sponsor’s behalf
    • Letters and phone calls from private citizens are more influential than arguments from vested interests
    • Involves coalition building
  • 25. Lobbying
    • Grassroots Lobbying
    • Tools used to generate phone calls and letters from
    • the public
    • Advocacy advertising
    • Toll-free phone lines
    • Bulk faxing
    • Web sites
    • Computerized direct mail
  • 26. Lobbying
    • Grassroots Lobbying
    • An $800 million industry
    • Virtually no rules or regulations
    • Orchestrated public feedback
    • “ Stealth lobbying” or “Astroturf” campaigns occur when grassroots lobbying is done under the cover of front groups without disclosing what vested interests are behind a campaign
  • 27. On The Job insights Guidelines for Grassroots Lobbying
      • Target the effort
      • Go after “persuadables”
      • Build coalitions on economic self-interest
      • Think politically
  • 28. On The Job insights Guidelines for Grassroots Lobbying
      • Letters are best
      • Make it easy
      • Arrange meetings
      • Avoid stealth tactics
  • 29. Election Campaigns
    • An army of fund-raisers, political strategists,
    • speechwriters, and communications consultants are
    • mobilized to help candidates win elections
    • American-style campaigning is the most expensive in the world
      • Fund-raising is virtually a full-time, year-round job
      • The 2004 U.S. elections saw $4 billion spent on campaigns
  • 30. Election Campaigns
    • Duties of professional fund-raisers include:
    • Recruit lobbyists to hawk tickets
    • Decide whom to invite
    • Design and mail invitations
    • Employ people to make follow-up calls
    • Rent the room
    • Hire the caterer
    • Make name tags
    • Tell the candidate who came and who didn’t
    • Hound attendees to make good on their pledges
  • 31. Election Campaigns
    • Other fund-raising support includes:
    • Consultants who specialize in direct mail and telemarketing
    • Firms who handle mass mailings
    • The Internet, which is used for research and to reach supporters using e-mail, web-based messaging, blogs, social media websites, etc.
  • 32. On The Job insights Getting Nominated in the U.S.A. is an Expensive Proposition
      • The 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City
      • cost more than $154 million to stage
      • Limousine services: $301,460
      • Stage where Bush gave his acceptance speech: $281,000
      • The fund-raising firm: $1.4 million
      • Madison Square Garden remodel: $11 million
      • Broadway play tickets: $750,000
  • 33. Election Campaigns
    • Campaign Finance Reform
    • McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 set limits on
    • campaign contributions
    • Soft Money:
      • National parties prohibited from accepting large, unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals
      • State and local party committees can accept up to $10,000 from individuals for get-out-the-vote and voter registration efforts in federal elections
  • 34. Election Campaigns
    • Campaign Finance Reform
    • McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 set limits on
    • campaign contributions
    • Hard Money:
      • Individuals can give a total of $95,000 in each two-year election cycle to all federal candidates, political parties and political action committees combined
      • That includes maximum contributions of $2,000 per election directly to a candidate and $25,000 to a political party per year
  • 35. Election Campaigns
    • Campaign Finance Reform
    • McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 set limits on campaign
    • Contributions
    • Issue Advertising:
      • Advertising in support of a specific candidate must be paid for only with regulated hard money
      • Ads that fall into this category cannot be broadcast within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election
  • 36. Election Campaigns
    • Campaign Finance Reform
    • McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 was partially
    • overturned as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled parts of it
    • are unconstitutional in its January 2010 decision.
    • Specifically, the court’s decision makes
    • unconstitutional the ban on issue advertising within 30
    • days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.
  • 37. Election Campaigns
    • 527s Become a Major Issue
    • What is it?
    • Non-profit, independent partisan organizations that
    • exist under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code
    • They are allowed to retain nonprofit status while
    • running partisan ads as long as they are not directly
    • coordinated with the national political parties or
    • candidates they support
  • 38. Election Campaigns
    • 527s Become a Major Issue
    • Soft money restricted by the McCain-Feingold Act migrated to 527 organizations
    • Third-party partisan groups spent about $400 million in the 2004 presidential campaign
    • The Democratic Party was the first to benefit from a 527 group
    • MoveOn.org is a liberal online group formed during the Clinton administration that raised money and support for President Clinton’s defense when he was impeached.
  • 39. Election Campaigns
    • 527s Become a Major Issue
    • America Coming Together (ACT), Media Fund and Real Voices were pro-Democratic groups that launched attack campaigns on President Bush’s policies.
    • ACT raised $24 million in one quarter for its activities
    • Media Fund raised and spent more than $45 million on its attack ads
  • 40. Election Campaigns
    • 527s Become a Major Issue
    • Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raised $15 million for attack ads against 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry
    • The Progress for America Voter Fund spent about $30 million on attack ads against Kerry
    • Another pro-Republican group was the Club for Growth
  • 41. Public Affairs in Government
    • The objectives of government information:
    • Communicate to the public the work of government agencies
    • Explain agency programs so that citizens understand them
    • Provide feedback to government administrators to improve programs and policies
  • 42. Public Affairs in Government
    • The objectives of government information:
    • Advise management how best to communicate a decision or a program
    • Serve as ombudsman
    • Educate administrators and bureaucrats about the role of the mass media and how to work with media representatives
  • 43. Public Affairs in Government
    • “ Public Information” versus “Public Relations”
    • It is illegal to use appropriated money for the employment of “publicity experts”
    • Public Information reflects the need to inform the public without promoting any particular position
  • 44. Public Affairs in Government
    • “ Public Information” versus “Public Relations”
    • The most common titles:
    • Public Information Officer
    • Director of Public Affairs
    • Press Secretary
    • Administrative Aide
    • Government Program Analyst
  • 45. On The Job global Danish Post Office Races to a New Image
      • After 350 years Royal Danish Mail was privatized and became Post Denmark.
      • Post Denmark sponsored a Round Denmark bicycle
      • race to publicize its new identity and new logo
  • 46. On The Job global Danish Post Office Races to a New Image
      • The race covered 860 km through 30 cities
      • Sixteen teams from 14 countries competed
      • Over 1 million spectators watched along the roadsides
      • About 77 percent of the population saw or read about the race
      • All 1,254 Post Denmark offices conducted
      • special promotions
  • 47. Public Affairs in Government
    • Scope of Federal Government Information
    • The U.S. government is one of the world’s greatest disseminators of information
    • The General Accounting Office estimated that $2.3 billion was spent each year by the governement on “public relations” activity
    • Critics of government public relations estimate that between 10,000 and 12,000 thousand federal employees are involved in what might be called “public relations” work
  • 48. Public Affairs in Government
    • Scope of Federal Government Information
    • Government Agencies
    • The U.S. Department of Defense operates one of the largest public affairs operations in the federal government
    • Federal agencies also conduct campaigns through public relations firms through a bidding process
  • 49. Public Affairs in Government
    • Scope of Federal Government Information
    • Congressional Efforts
    • All members of Congress employ a press secretary
    • Congressional members regularly produce news releases, newsletters, recordings, brochures, taped radio interviews and videotapes to inform voters back home
    • Critics complain that most materials are self-promotional and have little value
  • 50. Public Affairs in Government
    • Scope of Federal Government Information
    • White House Efforts
    • The president receives the most media attention
    • Presidents use this attention to implement public relations strategies using their own communication style
    • White House staff includes experts in communications strategy, media relations, speech writing, and event staging
  • 51. Public Affairs in Government
    • State Information Services
    • Every state provides public information services
    • States provide information to the public and the press about the policies, programs and activities of the various state agencies
    • State agencies conduct a variety of public information and education campaigns, often partnering with public relations firms
  • 52. Public Affairs in Government
    • City Information Services
    • Information specialists disseminate news and information from numerous municipal departments
    • Cities promote themselves to attract new business
    • Cities promote themselves to increase tourism
  • 53. Public Affairs in Government
    • Criticism of Government Information Efforts
    • Taxpayer groups believe information and public affairs officers are costly and unnecessary
    • Critics question tax dollars being used to promote government
    • Others, including journalists, criticize public information activities because of the amount of useless material they receive
  • 54. Public Affairs in Government
    • Criticism of Government Information Efforts
    • Public information efforts help the news media do their job
    • Public information efforts help address inquiries efficiently
    • Public information efforts help create awareness among the public and various issues
  • 55. PR CASEBOOK Pentagon Gets Flak in the War on Terrorism
      • Pentagon public affairs officers (PAOs) must balance their commitment to providing access and information with the security and safety of troops in combat
      • Journalists were banned from covering the unloading of flag-draped coffins from cargo planes
        • Critics saw this as an attempt to mask the truth
        • The Pentagon saw this as necessary to avoid helping the terrorists erode America’s commitment to liberate Iraq
  • 56. PR CASEBOOK Pentagon Gets Flak in the War on Terrorism
      • The Pentagon stonewalled the release of photos showing abuse by the U.S. against Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison
        • The Pentagon argued that the photos would violate privacy and undermine later prosecutions
        • The Pentagon also argued that the photos would put U.S. soldiers at risk
  • 57. PR CASEBOOK Pentagon Gets Flak in the War on Terrorism
      • Public Relations experts in crisis management agreed that the photos should have been released all at once
        • One big media story is better than having to deal with multiple stories that dribble out over an extended period of time
        • Get the information out as soon as possible and immediately tell the public what corrective action is being taken
  • 58. PR CASEBOOK Pentagon Gets Flak in the War on Terrorism
      • Gannett News Service exposed a choreographed letter-writing campaign by an Army commander in Iraq
        • Army officials defended the campaign as an opportunity to communicate good Army stories to the press
        • After receiving widespread criticism the Pentagon put a stop to this practice
  • 59. On The Job ethics Payments to Commentator Raise Ethical Concerns
      • Conservative commentator, Armstrong Williams,
      • was paid $240,000 by Ketchum on behalf of the
      • government to promote the No Child Left Behind Act
      • Armstrong failed to publicly disclose this fact to his audience when providing news commentary on the No Child Left Behind Act
  • 60. On The Job ethics Fake News or Information?
      • Video news releases (VNRs) by government agencies criticized as “fake news”
      • The government uses VNRs to disseminate information about government activities
      • Government and public relations executives say that VNRs clearly identify the source
      • News media present VNRs to the public audience
      • without attributing such sources