Special Guests: Promoting Conspiracy
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 12:35:31 PM EST
A few days ago, a publicity agency called Special Guests received some attention for a press release promoting Avi Lipkin, an Israeli pundit who has reportedly spoken "in over 1000 churches and synagogues in the United Sates, Canada, England, Greece, Israel, and other countries". Lipkin claims that Obama is planning to allow 100 million Muslim immigrants into the USA as a plot to Islamize the USA by the end of his second term; this somewhat extravagant conspiracy theory caught the attention of David Corn at Mother Jones, and Corn took a closer look at Lipkin's promoter:
According to its website, the organization has collaborated with the National Right To Life Committee, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the Second Amendment Foundation, and other conservative groups. The site boasts, "We regularly place guests on radio shows including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity Radio, [and] Michael Savage." The group says it only promotes causes that "are pleasing to The Maker, our Creator." It asks potential clients, "What is your special message? Is it helpful to humanity? Is it God-honoring?"
Apparently, it pleases God to accuse the president of covertly plotting--and implementing!--a Muslim takeover of the United States.

Special Guests' other clients include Walid Shoebat, and he and Lipkin are packaged as "available as guests individually or together as a panel."
In January, Shoebat and Lipkin were  co-promoted alongside the former mayor of Shiloh in Israel as pundits on Egypt:
...Conducting Talk Show interviews on this topic are a panel of guests (pick one, some, all or none) including Middle East policy analyst, Avi Lipkin, an Israeli citizen, former member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and a former translator inside the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

...Regarding the recent so-called 'leaderless' protest in Egypt, Avi Lipkin stated, "There is no doubt that if the Mubarek regime falls, the only group powerful enough and cohesive enough to rule Egypt will be The Muslim Brotherhood.

This would be a repeat of Jimmy Carter's toppling of the Shaw [sic] of Iran and the ushering in of a fanatic government with The Muslim Brotherhood who has promised a war with Israel."

...And former terrorist Walid Shoebat, who discusses street protest through the eyes of a terrorist. He knows up front and personally just what the behind-the-scenes leaders are doing to fan the flames of the so-called leaderless protest.

Shoebat, like Lipkin, claims that Obama is a Muslim: this is why Obama supports access to abortion, as part of a plot to weaken the USA. Shoebat has also worked with Glenn Beck's "end times prophet" Joel Richardson to spread the idea that the Bible predicts the coming of a Muslim anti-Christ.

Special Guests was discussed by Karl Grossman of FAIR in 2006:

Speaking of the politics of media, it's a clear and daily demonstration to me of how the right, far more than the left, realizes the importance of communication.... The most active PR operation that pitches us is Special Guests.

...The president of Special Guests is Jerry McGlothlin who, he explained, at 22 got into "the art business printing lithographs of starving artists" and became a millionaire. After he utilized his intense energy to sell a lithograph to Thomas Madden, a former vice president of NBC who went into PR, "Tom told me, 'You're a natural for PR.'"

For a time he was partners with Madden, one-time PR director for ABC and author of the memoir Spin Man.

A key event for Special Guests occurred in 1988, two years after its founding, when McGlothlin was able to get Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry booked on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That national television exposure "launched" Terry and his anti-abortion drive as "a national movement," said McGlothlin. This convinced him that he could not only "make money" through PR, but "you can move social causes! You can change the world!"

Since that TV appearance, he proudly noted, 80,000 people have been arrested in protests against abortion, twice the number, he said, arrested during the civil rights movement. One of those arrested was McGlothlin. He is not only a PR man but someone who believes in the causes and people he promotes.

He finds getting access to media "easy as pie for me now. I know the people; I know the producers." He rattled off names of producers at the most popular TV and radio programs in the United States, and told of his clients in recent weeks getting on NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Morning Show.

Special Guests also has a  "television division" called CleanTV, where McGlothlin presents news items such as "John McTernan documents how disasters of biblical proportions happen in the United States each time our nation's leadership pressures Israel to give up their God-given Promised Land". As Gerald B McGlothlin, he is the registered owner of 888WebToday, which describes itself as "Your Daily Conservative and Christian Online Daily News Resource", and of Faith Issues. Both sites offer boilerplate populist-conservative religious and general commentary, with 888WebToday also publishing various press releases.

In July 2010, Joe Ciarallo of PRNewsner noted a "pay-per-placement" ad in a trade publication:

We've heard of "pay-per-placement" PR agencies before... Nothing new there.

However, we can't recall seeing an advertisement that implies in such a direct manner that one can pay to get on big name TV and radio shows such as those hosted by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, as well as conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

...When asked if he needed permission to use the media personality's pictures in his advertisement, which basically implies that you can pay to be on their shows, McGlothlin responded, "I really don't know."

McGlothlin did say his company has booked a couple hundred thousand placements per year, including affiliates. "We book very frequently on 'Fox and Friends' and other programs on Fox News," he said.

"We book time to time on CNN and MSNBC, although most of our guests run right of center so it's easier for us to place them on Fox News," he continued.

McGlothlin clarified further in the comments under the post:
At Special Guests we do not guarantee any particular show on any particular day, but if we don't book it, the client doesn't pay a cent.

...Major book publishers outsource publicity work to us since they know they have a fixed flat rate for the work we do, either on a 'per interview' basis or on a flat weekly or monthly basis. No expenses, no hidden fees, no bad surprises and no long term commitment. Satisfaction 100% guaranteed or give a 7-day notice to quit. But with clients who have been with us longer than 15 years, it shows that sometimes the best binding long term agreement is no long term agreement at all!

Pay for play PR? Think of it like this: People scoffed at 'penny ante; keyword search marketing in its infancy but Google and Yahoo are now mainstream (our `keywords' are: politics, breaking news, Obama and religion!) players in the advertising industry.

Perhaps the future of PR is what Special Guests has been doing for the past 22 years: Charging a fair price per interview and NOT CHARGING A DIME unless we deliver.

Back in 2004, another person named Jerry McGlothlin found fame as the "Napkin Man" after attempting to sell a napkin made moist from Alan Keyes' sweat. However, this Special Guests page shows that the PR-man McGlothlin curiously became his namesake's promoter.

Interestingly enough, the Amarillo Globe-News has been running a web banner ad promoting the appearance of anti-Muslim speaker Brigitte Gabriel at a speech in Amarillo. The Amarillo Tea Party is naturally sponsoring this guest appearance. It all rather reminds me of the old saying "a lie travels halfway around the world while truth is still putting on its boots."

by khughes1963 on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 01:52:06 PM EST

For an agency that professes to honor God, the agency appears to be promoting speakers that have no regard for the commandment prohibiting false witness.

by khughes1963 on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 01:53:22 PM EST

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