The White House is now posting the administration’s communications focus, along with talking points, daily on the Whitehouse.gov blog. In the first post today, White House Online Programs Director Jesse Lee wrote, “It’s no secret that institutions of all stripes focus their communications on certain messages day to day. We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day, along with any related articles, reports or documents.”
Has this ever been done before, and what are the implications for PR?
“It makes a lot of sense and I’m not aware of it ever being done before,” said Don Goldberg, partner at D.C.-based Qorvis Communications and former Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton. “When I was in White House, we would have daily meetings on message and you would basically have conference calls…If the weekend was coming up and you had talk shows you were worried about, you would make sure all Democrats on the shows had the same points. The Obama administration is bypassing traditional media as much as it can anyway, so why not provide them with ‘message of the day’ type of details. Why not try to reach out to everybody?”
Stacie Paxton, former national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee and now a Vice President in Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, D.C. office, said that providing White House talking points online, “shows a level of transparency previously unseen by other Administrations – Republican or Democratic. It gives extremely valuable insight into thinking at the White House at a critical time. Anyone with a stake in the health care debate or any other pressing issue would be foolish not to read this blog daily.”