Mark Penn writing on bloggers in the WSJ today:
Are there any limits to the opinions they churn out, or any standards to rein them in? Is there someone to complain to about false blogs or hidden conflicts? At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic outfitted bloggers with free Panasonic equipment; did that affect their opinions about the companies they wrote about? There are more questions than answers about America’s Newest Profession.
From the Wikipedia entry on Mark Penn:
In mid-2007, the dual role of Mark Penn as the CEO of Burson-Marsteller and chief strategist for Hillary Clinton irked some labor leaders. Labor leaders wrote to Clinton expressing their concern about Burson-Marsteller’s anti-labor work. Other firms besides Microsoft which have used the services of Penn’s firm include private security company Blackwater and troubled mortgage lender Countrywide. Clinton has strongly criticized Blackwater, although Penn has said that the Blackwater contract has since been finished.
On April 4, 2008, Penn apologized for working for officials of President Álvaro Uribe (Colombia) for the purposes of lobbying for a free trade agreement that Clinton opposed. Penn admitted to “an error in his judgment” after being criticized for meeting with Colombia’s ambassador to the United States on the subject of advancing a potential bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. Penn suggested that he had conducted the meeting as part of his role as CEO of Burson-Marsteller. However, the ambassador was unclear in what capacity Penn was conducting the meeting and Penn’s advocacy for the trade agreement seemed to undercut his client Hillary Clinton’s “well known” opposition to the deal.
No word on whether Penn got some free mp3 players in addition to the millions of dollars from Columbia he received. But if there was free Panasonic or Sony equipment involved, I would definitely check that out.
Short process note: I’ve been away from blogging for a while because of some medical stuff, and the amount of work associated with OCWC Global (which is happening as we speak). Hopefully I will be resuming a more frequent schedule soon.