September 08, 2008

Just Asking Questions

axelrod.jpgI've been trying to find out more about Obama's chief campaign adviser David Axelrod. No particular reason; I've just seen him on some of these talking-heads shows and he seems like an awesome guy. And after about 20 seconds with Google, I found this interesting tidbit from the March '08 issue of Business Week. It's about how Axelrod juggles his work for AKP&D Message & Media, his Chicago-based political consultancy business, with his work for another PR company he runs:

From the same River North address, Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to tilt public opinion their way. He and his partners consider virtually everything about ASK to be top secret, from its client roster and revenue to even the number of its employees. But customers and public records confirm that it has quarterbacked campaigns for the Chicago Children's Museum, ComEd, Cablevision, and AT&T.

ASK's predilection for operating in the shadows shows up in its work. On behalf of ComEd and Comcast, the firm helped set up front organizations that were listed as sponsors of public-issue ads. Industry insiders call such practices "Astroturfing," a reference to manufacturing grassroots support. Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward, who has been battling the Children's Museum's relocation plans, describes ASK as "the gold standard in Astroturf organizing. This is an emerging industry, and ASK has made a name for itself in shaping public opinion and manufacturing public support."

Weird, huh?

Posted by Jim Treacher at September 8, 2008 02:44 PM