What, you’re surprised? Of course Ann Coulter has a publicist. She can’t make headlines with shockingly offensive comments on her own, now can she?
Given the recent firing of a BuzzFeed writer and public shaming of a New York Times columnist for real-life plagiarism, this Inside Politics PR story is worth a mention.
Craig Shirley, president and CEO of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, is both a PR person for right-wing pundits/politicians and a writer of books about movement icons like Ronald Reagan. He now accuses Rick Perlstein, author of the recent Invisible Bridge: The Fall Of Richard Nixon And The Rise of Ronald Reagan, of plagiarism for “paraphrasing” his own earlier tome on the 40th president. He wants $25 million and demands that all existing copies of the book be “destroyed.”
This despite the fact that Perlstein cites Shirely 125 times in his own endnotes. Histrionics, anyone?
Media Matters for America is hardly an objective party, but they’re correct in noting that the real issue here is that a man who is not obviously in love with Reagan would dare attempt to write an authoritative bio.
It’s also worth noting that Shirley has represented the NRA, Rick Perry and Sarah Palin…so he’s a team player. In a 2013 Washington Post profile, the man himself admitted that “Everything we do is…designed to advance some type of philosophical goal.”
Media Matters also received an email from Shirley’s partner in PR urging fellow travelers to “help in our offensive” against Perlstein “as his book is publishing on Tuesday, August 5 and he has a number of interviews”. The email even offers to write these friends’ defamatory tweets for them.
The basic accusation here is that Perlstein used dozens of facts about Reagan that were first reported by Shirley — not that he copied the other author’s work, much less pasted entire sentences from Wikipedia and Yahoo answers, of all places. That is plagiarism.
Now, doesn’t this story make you want to work in politics?