Mashable had this interesting little blurb about Chrysler's official Twitter account and the f-bomb earlier today, so I decided to look at New Media Strategies a little closer for two reasons: First, because it amazes me that anyone calling themselves a "new media strategist" could send a tweet like the one pictured above, as retweeted. And second, I wanted to see what other companies NMS has as clients.
After reading their executive bios, it was abundantly clear that they are a right-wing firm with many conservative ties. After all, when the public affairs VP has to be specific about overseeing a "bipartisan group", you've got to wonder why that disclaimer is there, since one would assume that a public affairs director would naturally be bipartisan?
I wondered aloud on Twitter about why Chrysler, of all companies, would hire a right-wing new media firm and was met with some derision and scorn over my characterization of NMS as such.
Then this crossed my tweet stream, courtesy of Lee Fang at Think Progress.
Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles). Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account as a “sock puppet” — one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media sites — a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees like Jeff Taylor.
In a bid to undo a Wikipedia-imposed ban, the MBMAdmirer account now acknowledges that it works for Koch Industries. The tactics used by Koch’s PR firm clearly violate the ethics rules laid out by Wikipedia against sock puppet manipulation.
Soren Dayton, a GOP operative and executive at New Media Strategies, is reported to be the contact for Koch Industries at NMS. Reached by phone yesterday by ThinkProgress, Dayton exclaimed, “I’m not going to talk about this, thanks,” before hanging up. Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of blogs and news websites.
Well, yeah, I guess I wasn't completely out of line in my original assessment and question, now was I?