The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, March 19, 2004

Who is Karen Ryan?

When I read the Campaign Desk piece by Zachary Roth I was initially inclined to view it as a sort of pop quiz: a challenge to identify the tell-tale signs of fakery.

Surely we all knew that 'Karen Ryan' was an actress? The Guardian (March 16) had it confirmed by Home Front Communications, the guys who made the video press releases (video news release seems to be the more popular term) for the HHS.

Roth's story is that Ryan is an ex-journalist, who set up in PR, and has several VPRs (or VNRs) to her credit.

Most names check out with Mr Google - products she's supposed to have promoted, for instance, like Ciprodex; some names don't, like Karen Ryan Group Communications [1].

There is a second source: in a WaPo piece (March 17)
Kevin Keane, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, said: "She is a freelance journalist. She is not an actor."

Ryan was a researcher at ABC and NBC before forming a communications consulting business a year ago.

And the suggestion abroad online (as, for instance, here) is that the HHS's Ryan is the same Karen Ryan who presented a programme called Business Now for ABC. (Sample scripts here and here (DOC).) I get the feeling that Business Now was not exactly an anchor of the schedule - it doesn't seem to have its own page on the ABC site.

I'm prepared, on what I know (which isn't much), to proceed on the (eminently rebuttable) assumption that the HHS's Ryan is the PR Ryan claimed by Roth and (with less detail) by WaPo.

The cloak and dagger I could have done without.

  1. Karen Ryan Communications Group sounds more like the name of a real company. Surely a PR company would have its own site?

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