It’s not often reporters feel compelled to lift the veil and show the general public how politicians massage the message. This was done recently in a Hartford Courant Capitol Watch piece, and the resulting story, written by dogged investigative reporter Jon Lender, presumably with his tongue tucked far back in his cheek, is hilarious:
“Pull back the curtain as top aides in the Malloy administration shape the messages that get fed to the taxpaying public, and you see how much calculation, editing and rewriting happens before a statement is finally issued — and how high up the ladder they go for approval.
“Emails obtained Thursday by Government Watch indicate that Doba [Andrew, Director of Communications for Governor Dannel P. Malloy] wields his authority as the governor's spokesman freely. Like his counterparts in many states, he insists on being kept informed of any significant questions from reporters to executive-branch agencies, and generally he is accorded utter obedience by the communications officers who act as public spokesmen for those agencies. At the education department, two people lately have been serving in that capacity — Polites and the agency's lead spokesperson, Kelly Donnelly.”
In the age of wall to wall propaganda now upon us, not only governors but their subalterns have communication directors, known among some in the media as flack deflectors. The chief purpose of a flack deflector is to arrange matters in such a way as to make it certain that THE BOSS, whether a governor, a mayor or a lesser light, is always the window and never the bug. Sometimes, as campaigns approach, the bug deflector is a migrant worker with Washington DC creds; or he might have been employed successfully on one or another high profile campaign. Such is the case with Mr. Doba, a busy bee in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political machine and fire tested in the crucible of New York politics, before he was recruited by the Malloy machine.