Saturday, January 29, 2005

CNN: Torie Clarke gets a makeover 

CNN's Judy Woodruff, doing her usual fine job of burying a turd in the sand, gets all forthcoming-like with former Bush administration dramatis personae Victoria Clarke. Clarke, the madam procuress of the Pentagon's Iraq war embed agenesis, is currently employed as a "public diplomacy"/psy-op, I mean "contributor", yes, contributor, contributor it is, with CNN. Whew. So, ahem, lets watch as the gals apply some greasy lipstick to the slippery liaison pig.

Partial transcript - Inside Politics - CNN:
(on camera): At the heart of this debate is the question of credibility. Are commentators influenced by being too cozy with politicians or by sizeable paychecks from government agencies?

The Democrats have demanded an investigation and want to outlaw what they call covert propaganda. President Bush realizes that pundit payola looks bad, which is why he's asked his cabinet heads to stop the practices.


WOODRUFF: Thank you, Howard.

WOODRUFF: And joining me now with her take on all this, CNN contributor and former Pentagon spokeswoman, Torie Clark. You also, I want to say, worked for the first Bush administration...


WOODRUFF: ... in several capacity.

CLARK: A long time ago.

WOODRUFF: So you not only know how government works, you know how the press works. You worked for a newspaper here in Washington.

CLARK: A very long time ago, 25 years ago.

A very long time ago in a very far away land...

Clarke was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs on April 5, 2001. She was confirmed by the Senate on May 17, 2001, and sworn in at a ceremony in the Pentagon on May 22, 2001.

In this position, she is responsible for all matters relating to Department of Defense public information, internal information, community relations, information training, and audiovisual matters.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Clarke was the general manager of the Washington, D.C. office of Hill & Knowlton, a global public relations and marketing firm. Previously, she was President of Bozell Eskew Advertising, a leading issue advocacy and corporate communications company. From 1993 to 1998, Clarke was Vice President for Public Affairs and Strategic Counsel for the National Cable Television Association.

In 1992, Clarke served as Press Secretary for the re-election campaign of President George Herbert Walker Bush. From 1989 to 1992, she was Assistant U.S. Trade Representative under Ambassador Carla Anderson Hills for Public Affairs and Private Sector Liaison. Previously, she served as press secretary to Congressman and then Senator John McCain. In 1982, Ms. Clarke was a press assistant to then Vice President George Bush. From 1979 to 1982, Ms. Clarke worked as an editorial assistant, photographer, and graphics editor for the Washington Star daily newspaper. Source Watch.org

Oh yeah...I worked here and there, for some newspaper, yada-yada, long time ago...moving along.

A Bright Shining Line:
WOODRUFF: Well, now we're reading this week that the Bush administration has paid public relations firms something like $250 million to help push Bush proposals. They say this is double what the Clinton administration spent.

Now, is this -- is this tax payer money, you know, well spent? I mean, is it appropriate?

CLARK: Again, it's the reflection of the times in which information increasingly plays a very, very important role. There is nothing new about the United States government having outside consultants for a variety of things.

The Department of Defense has paid contractors for years to build planes and ships. This is another tool, if you will, that people in the government use.

But I do think people need to draw some pretty bright lines. The president has. The president has drawn a very bright line about what he thinks is appropriate and what he thinks is inappropriate. I think everyone in the government needs to take stock of that.

WOODRUFF: Were you ever aware when you worked in government, either first Bush administration or this administration, first term, of this kind of practice under way anywhere in the government?

CLARK: Never. Never. We were very aggressive.

I was very aggressive at the Pentagon about bringing people in to talk to groups, whether it was education leaders, labor leaders, religious leaders. Across the board we'd bring people in to talk to them and try to explain our positions and our views on things. But that was the extent of our outreach.

Ooops! Forgot to mention anything about that "first term" earlier. But ya gotta love how Woodruff slides that little reference to "this administration, first term" in there now. Without asking Clarke to explain what exactly it was she did during any of that, so very long ago, "first term". Ya know, back when Torie was aggressively throwing Kool Aide and Cakewalk parties for the giggly wide-eyed wowsers from CNN and, and.... Anyway, this professional bullshit media management PR weasel chitty-chat continues for a while and concludes as follows:

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, I want to clarify, you are a contributor for CNN.

CLARK: That's right.

WOODRUFF: So you're paid by CNN.

CLARK: That's right.

WOODRUFF: You don't have any affiliation with the Bush administration anymore?

CLARK: None. None whatsoever.


Stop it. I can hear your eyes rolling around out there.

CLARK: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Torie Clark making it clear. Thank you very much.

CLARK: Good to see you.

WOODRUFF: It's always good to have you on. We appreciate it.

CLARK: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

See ya at the soda fountain after the game Torie! You go girl-friend! Anyway, you can read the transcript of the whole lame pathetic disingenuous who do they think they're kidding mess, in its entirety, for yourselves, right here: CNN - Inside Politics Jan 28, 2005.

You go to war with the best public relations huckster you can have:
the White House announced last week that Victoria Clarke, a Washington public relations executive with no experience in military affairs, was the nominee for the post. Clarke was selected to comply with the White House's insistence on women or minorities in high positions. Among her champions was Karen Hughes, President Bush's communications director and the person in charge of picking spokesmen, or spokeswomen, for cabinet agencies. ~ cached text link

Poise, praise and vantage points:
As press secretary for President George H.W. Bush's 1992 re-election campaign, Clarke witnessed history from vantage points like Air Force One and was broadly praised for her poise and professionalism during the campaign’s most difficult days. She was a close advisor to Arizona Senator John McCain from the earliest days of his Congressional career. As Assistant U.S. Trade Representative during the first Bush Administration, Clarke worked extensively with journalists from around the world and ran a comprehensive private sector liaison program. ~ Torie Bio

"a comprehensive private sector liasion program." Ha ha ha.... oh golly. But it's nice of CNN to invite Torie in from the cold and provide her a little desk in the corner where she can resume her praised organizing on behalf of cheery get-togethers and poised personal sector liaisons. And it sure is a good thing she's not hanging round those icky Bush administration flim flam drummers anymore. That would be so inappropriate.

Plus, she's not wearing those weird Babes In Toyland costumes on TV anymore. Remember that? When she was dressing up like she was going on tour with Herman's Hermits - or something. What the hell was that about anyway?


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