Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Koch Brothers Hire Arnold Schwarzenegger's PR Operative

The Koch brothers have hired the Terminator's PR operative, along with a former editor at the neo-con, Weekly Standard, to help reshape their image in the media as a result of heavy negative exposure they are receiving after spending sizable amounts of money as part of their "electoral strategy".

Judging by the banana republic strongman-type protection that the Koch's brought to Ranch Mirage, I would say that in this Koch-Soros WWF-style Oligarch match, Soros has clearly rattled the boys from Kansas City.

I have been at gatherings a number of times where the much more high profile Soros has been in attendance. He has either traveled without bodyguards, or in large crowd situations, with one bodyguard.

Reports Politico:

They’ve hired a team of p.r. pros with experience working for top Republicans including Sarah Palin and Arnold Schwarzenegger to quietly engage reporters to try to shape their Koch coverage, and commissioned sophisticated polling to monitor any collateral damage to the image of their company, Koch Industries..

And, in another shift, Koch’s p.r. representatives reached out to reporters, largely in response to a raucous rally outside the resort gates that vilified the Kochs as personifying a corrupt political system – and that resulted in the arrests of 25 protestors.

On the other hand, the Kochs retained a heavy private security detail, which tracked resort guests deemed “suspicious,” erected a blockade Saturday to block a documentary camera crew from filming arriving guests, and removed a POLITICO reporter from the resort café under threat of arrest...

Personally, the brothers and their executives were rattled by the scrutiny, according to a conservative source who has closely tracked the Kochs’ philanthropy and their meetings, but who contends the Kochs largely brought the heightened scrutiny on themselves.

“They somehow thought that they could runs tens of millions of dollars in ads, but fly under the radar screen and that nobody was going to find out,” said the source. “So they’re scrambling now because they weren’t nearly as prepared for the fallout as they should have been.”

The source requested anonymity to discuss the Kochs without provoking the ire of the brothers, who – some in conservative circles say – are known for retaliating against allies and former allies deemed insufficiently loyal...

The Kochs also took the Democratic attacks seriously, assembling a crisis communication team including consultants Michael Goldfarb – a former editor at the conservative Weekly Standard....

During Sunday’s demonstration, Koch and resort security discouraged curious donors from leaving the resort buildings to watch protestors from the grounds, though a photo posted on a Common Cause blog with the headline “We got their attention” appears to show David Koch watching the protest from a resort balcony...

And various conservative media outlets and journalists have also assailed the Kochs’ critics, including several who have received funding, honoraria or other payments from Koch-linked non-profits, or donors who attend their conferences – including Reason magazine, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore and the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney ...

Inside the resort at the beginning of the conference, “there was an atmosphere almost of paranoia,” said Gary Ferdman, a Common Cause official.

Ferdman had reservations at the resort and stayed there Thursday and Friday night. He said he was told Saturday that his lunch reservations at the resort restaurant had been canceled and was urged to check out and leave promptly by a member of Koch’s large security detail...

Security manned every doorway and stairwell near the ballrooms where Koch events were held, and threatened to jail this POLITICO reporter while he waited in line at the resort’s café, after he stopped by a Koch conference registration table.

The resort grounds were “closed for a private function,” the resort’s head of security, James Foster told POLITICO, ushering the reporter outside, where private security guards, wearing gold lapel pins bearing Koch’s “K” logo, threatened “a citizen’s arrest” and a “night in the Riverside County jail” if the reporter continued asking questions and taking photographs
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