As the economy continues to sour, the use and proliferation of public relations people to spin the messages of governments and agencies is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many folks.
When the Boise School District announced layoffs, we had immediate comments and suggestions from GUARDIAN readers about getting rid of the District PR spokesman and staff.
COMPASS recently came under fire when it was revealed they spend more than $120,000 on opinion shapers who in some cases use tax money AGAINST the will of the citizens to wine and dine legislators. Ada Commish Sharon Ullman writes about it on HER BLOG.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! screams Ameritel Inn’s Chuck Everett over public money spent by the G-BAD boys at the Greater Boise Autitorium District to influence opinions. Everett claims, “Boise Centre on the Grove Manager, Pat Rice, championed a $100,000 expenditure with the Gallatin Group that yielded 6 written documents, 6 meetings, and 31 uneventful e-mails since July of 2007.” The Gallatin Group contract involved, ‘selling the local public on a new Marriott hotel’”. The monthly $5,000 retainer has apparently been terminated after Everett raised a fuss.
Boise City has so many spinmeisters (police, public works, development services, mayor’s office, parks, airport) they call themselves the PIGS–for Public Information Group.
Sadly, the messengers we need–in the local legacy media–are dropping like flies. The Daily Paper is expected to announce cutbacks in staff Monday, leaving us with even fewer reporters at the shrinking Statesman. KBCI-TV has eliminated most of its video people, leaving reporters to shoot their own pictures and edit…with less time to check facts and dig out truth. Channel 12 is often without enough “warm bodies” to chase important local stories.
None of the commercial radio stations offers weekend news coverage and even NPR public radio has mostly students and part timers.
While the GUARDIAN is far from a substitute for local news coverage, we offer a forum for those who have good news instincts and want their fellow citizens to be informed of important issues.
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