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Mark Penn Shows Microsoft-AstroTurf Overlap

Posted in Microsoft at 9:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Interesting employer ties seen around Microsoft’s daemoniser of Google

THE AstroTurfing firm that we see here turns out to have more Microsoft connections than we knew about. Our contributor iophk asks, “wasn’t Burston-Marsteller the same firm that both MS and Facebook hired to smear Google? There are also other instances of cross contamination.”

We seem to have missed this news about Mark Penn’s origin:

After six years leading PR giant Burson-Marsteller, CEO Mark Penn is leaving the firm for a new job at Microsoft, where he will help shape its brand image. His new gig: Corporate vice president of strategic and special projects. In that role, Penn, who served as senior strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, will lead “a small interdisciplinary team” focused on “consumer initiatives,” according to the announcement by Microsoft. He’ll report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

The anti-Google campaigns by Penn were recently covered in [1, 2 , 3]. Add that to news reminiscent of Wikipedia airbrushing by Waggener Edstrom, which is akin to this act of censorship by Penn’s company:

Burson-Marsteller, the PR giant, who is often used as a “crisis management” PR firm for clients undergoing bad press appears to need some outside help in handling its own crisis management…


And, now it’s gotten worse, as Burson has been caught deleting critical posts from its Facebook page, forcing the company to sort of, but not really, apologize again, and say they’ll reach out to the person who had posted a link to some of the coverage of the company’s Facebook wall, and tell her she can put it back up. The company also tried to brush it off by saying that its Facebook page had been receiving “a lot of profanity,” and that was all they were seeking to delete. That a basic story about the controversy got deleted in the process… well… I guess that’s just collateral damage.

If PR includes deletion, then why not? It is not as though ethics are a major consideration for people in this occupation.

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