03-09-2011, 11:10 AM
ATF To Counter "Gunwalker" Negative News Coverage
| ATF Orders Its Public Relations Officers To Counter "Gunwalker" Negative News Coverage |
Why be concerned with smuggling of guns into Mexico when ATF agents are ordered to let the guns “Walk” into Mexico? Many were shocked by the revelations of an ATF agent last week.
ATF is trying to polish its tarnished image gained from the media coverage of the “Gunwalker” scandal by ordering its 26 national and 6 international field office public information officers to report as many positive ATF stories since the scandal breaking in the two weeks following.
Here’s their leaked memo to the ATF branches…
“Public Information Officers:
Please make every effort for the next two weeks to maximize coverage of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and regional level. Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week and upcoming events this week, the bureau should look for every opportunity to push coverage of good stories. Fortunately, the CBS story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and seems to have fizzled.
It was shoddy reporting , as CBS failed to air on-the-record interviews by former ATF officials and HQ statements for attribution that expressed opposing views and explained the law and difficulties of firearm trafficking investigations. The CBS producer for the story made only a feigned effort at the 11th hour to reach ATF HQ for comment.
This week (To 3/1/2011), Attorney General Holder testifies on the Hill and likely will get questions about the allegations in the story. Also (The 3/3/2011), Mexico President Calderon will visit the White House and likely will testify on the Hill. He will probably draw attention to the lack of political support for demand letter 3 and Project Gunrunner.
ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF. The more time we spend highlighting the great work of the agents through press releases and various media outreaches in the coming days and weeks, the better off we will be.
Thanks for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any significant operations that should get national media coverage, please reach out to the Public Affairs Division for support, coordination and clearance.
Scot L. Thomasson
Chief ATF Public Affairs Division
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