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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Friday news dump

There's a theory in public relations that the best way to minimize coverage of bad news is to dump it late on a Friday afternoon. Fewer reporters may be paying attention and smaller, less well-read Saturday papers make it less likely that people will notice.

The most glaring example I was involved with came in 1986, when Republican gubernatorial candidate Royall Switzler decided to take a sleepy Friday afternoon in June to call a news conference and tell the world he had kited his resume, claiming he was a captain in the Green Berets. Memory fails on some of the details, except that I was pretty close to alone in that large Parker House room.

Nevertheless, with a couple of weeks, Switzler was out of the race. The Friday afternoon news dump couldn't have his fatally flawed candidacy.

Which brings us to yesterday's double-barreled news dump: the announcement that Richard Vitale has registered as a lobbyist at about the same time as his financial planning client Sal DiMasi paid off a $250,000 third mortgage line of credit tendered by Vitale.

The timing of course was crucial: politicians can't accept anything of value from lobbyists. Even close personal friends who offer "strategic advice" to groups with business before the Legislature.

While the facts speak for themselves, there are a couple of points worth noting:
  • Vitale now employs the services of both George Regan and Richard Egbert, Regan handles clients such as former Providence Mayor and convicted felon Buddy Cianci. Egbert also represented Cianci and DiMasi's predecessor, Tom Finneran;
  • Secretary of State Bill Galvin, whose job includes overseeing lobbying activities, doesn't seem terribly impressed by the defense mounted to date by Messrs. Regan and Egbert;
  • Vitale's connection to some of the other DiMasi troubles -- notably as the brother of the slain police officer in whose memory a golf tournament is held and which has as a prime sponsor a company promoted by Vitale and which received a questionable state contract -- are not easily explained (as this sentence proves!)
I have a running debate with a colleague about the effectiveness of the Friday news dump. She thinks people do notice. She wins this round hands down.

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Anonymous Charley on the MTA said...

Totally off topic, OL -- do you have an RSS feed?

May 10, 2008 3:12 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I thought I did. Let me check.

May 10, 2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

The answer is yes -- although I don't have the nice little button on the site (and haven't been able to figure out how to add it). I know the posts show up in Bloglines. Assume it is available in other readers too.

May 11, 2008 10:37 AM  

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