Controlling the message
"The Bush administration has perfected the art of tightly controlling information. And it has paid no price for its disciplined, on-message, my-way-or-the-highway approach. The press might want to get used to it--this may be the template for future presidencies," Lori Robertson wrote in the March/April 2005 American Journalism Review.
"This White House has gone beyond mastering damage control to making pre-emptive strikes that distort unfavorable information or keep it hidden from public view."—Editorial, Roanoke Times, August 9, 2003.
Controlling the message can be accomplished through various means, including setting the agenda: "telling the truth and answering questions before they were asked, prepared statements and designated subject matter experts as spokespersons, and getting key messages out early to gain the media's trust." 
The "public relations professional is in charge of controlling the message," according to Ingrid Cummings of Rubicon Communications. "It is critical to develop a set of key message points: simple declarations of fact relevant to the fact pattern. Once they have developed key message points, professionals practice them and keep delivering them succinctly and repeatedly in response to media inquiries." 
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Bush administration and the press
- fake news
- information operations
- Information Operations Task Force
- John Rendon / Rendon Group
- Lincoln Group
- propaganda techniques
- spin / spin control
- talking points
- war propaganda
- "Framing," Communications Toolkit/W.K. Kellogg Foundation,
- "The President and the Press," PBS Online NewsHour, April 25, 2001: "Terence Smith looks at President Bush's relationship with the media during the first 100 days of his presidency."
- Maud S. Beelman, Commentary: "The Dangers of Disinformation in the War on Terrorism. 'We actually put out a false message to mislead people'," Center for Public Integrity, February 2, 2002.
- Laura Miller, "War is Sell," PR Watch, Volume 9 No. 4, 2002.
- Interview with Sheldon Rampton, Co-Author of "Weapons Of Mass Deception: The Uses Of Propaganda In Bush’s War On Iraq", BuzzFlash, July 24, 2003: "Commercial advertising, like public relations and other forms of propaganda, is ultimately about controlling the message."
- Editorial: "Bush's Scary Message Control," Roanoke Times (Common Dreams), August 9, 2003.
- Editorial: "Framing the Message," The Progressive Populist, 2005.
- "Controlling the Message Through Screening...," Rush Limbaugh Online, March 2005.
- Lori Robertson, "In Control," American Journalism Review, March/April 2005.
- Mark McKinnon, "Creating and Framing the Message," Speaker Profile, November 2005.
- Paul McLeary, "When Spooks Were Reporters and Reporters Were Spooks," CJR Daily, December 2, 2005.
- Josua Micah Marshall, Talking Points Memo, September 7, 2005. re Hurricane Katrina
- Jeremy Ford, "The Minuteman Movement: Illuminating the Border," The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, May 2, 2006: "Because exposing the failure of the national government to protect the border is the main objective of the Minuteman Movement controlling the message that is sent is crucial to the success of the movement."
- Christopher Bollyn, "9-11: Controlling the Message," American Free Press (iamthewitness.com), May 19, 2006.
- Marc Parent, "'Liberal' and 'progressive' conclave in Washington, DC: About controlling and 'framing' the message," Live Journal, March 14, 2006.
- Molly Brush, "PR students examine crisis situations," School of Journalism, Indiana University at Bloomington, May 8, 2006.
- Robert Parry, "The Neocon Battle for Media," Consortium News, June 29, 2006.]