WashPost Says 'Pitch-Perfect' Publicists Are Blamed for Promoting Deep-Red 'Extremism'

Congratulations are in order for our friends at the Shirley & Banister public-relations firm for being hailed as “Pitch-Perfect Conservatives” in Monday’s Style section in The Washington Post. If you can get a liberal paper to hail you as “very, very good,” you look very good indeed.

But the Post account by Krissah Thompson also used the “very conservative” label to define Reaganites and suggested their "deep-red clients" have been criticized for “extremism on the right" by both Democrat and Republican operatives:

Shirley & Banister and friendly Alexandria-based rival CRC Public Relations are the firms that very conservative figures use to pitch their messages to the media.

CRC is MRC’s longtime PR firm. Elsewhere in Monday's Post, the left-wing "Nuns on the Bus" draw no label, but are simply credited with creating "One of the most energizing events in years for many in the U.S. church." But the Reaganites are extreme freaks:

Banister and her colleagues are very, very good at encouraging, advising, cajoling and marketing their clients. With partner Craig Shirley, she heads Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, a 10-person shop based in a historic house in Old Town Alexandria. The firm is one of the few in the business that take on only conservative causes. Moderate GOP-compromise types are not welcome...

Political strategists of both parties have denounced extremism on the right and laid the blame on more than a few Shirley & Banister clients for the Republican Party’s difficulty connecting with moderates. But Shirley and Banister say they are determined to keep the anti-establishment message churning, especially after two consecutive GOP presidential losses and eight years of George W. Bush’s budget busting and “compassionate conservatism.”

The Post said S&B represented “deep-red clients” in their headline and reject “moderate GOP-compromise types,” and then inside Style, a shot displaying the firm’s political memorabilia centers on a book cover by... Bob Dole. That doesn’t match.

Thompson and the Post also wrongly suggest MSNBC is eager for conservative guests, when any regular viewer knows “deep red” guests are rare, even though Shirley & Banister are eager to help:

The room’s TV is tuned to MSNBC, the left-leaning cable channel with round-the-clock political news. The Shirley & Banister Web site features a quote from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow excoriating the “very, very able, very, very connected conservative P.R. firm . . . Shirley & Banister, which howls like a wounded animal anytime we mention their existence on television.”

The channel is a favorite in the office, and not just because being blasted by the ideological opposition adds to the firm’s right-wing bona fides. This is a business, after all. Whereas Fox News is stocked with in-house conservative commentators, MSNBC’s liberal hosts often need a conservative foil. Shirley & Banister is more than happy to oblige.

We can still remember back in the Bush years when S&B helped launch a "deep-red client" on that network known as "Morning Joe" Scarborough. Sometimes, conservatives leave "extremism" behind for the "new respect" of the media elites.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis