Esquire embargo fury stirs up media frenzy

NEW YORK: Esquire magazine scored a journalistic coup this month with an exit interview with President Clinton for its December issue. However, the title's decision to send out advance copies to the Sunday talk shows sent the White House into a spin, with the president alleging it broke an embargo.

NEW YORK: Esquire magazine scored a journalistic coup this month with an exit interview with President Clinton for its December issue. However, the title's decision to send out advance copies to the Sunday talk shows sent the White House into a spin, with the president alleging it broke an embargo.

NEW YORK: Esquire magazine scored a journalistic coup this month with an exit interview with President Clinton for its December issue. However, the title's decision to send out advance copies to the Sunday talk shows sent the White House into a spin, with the president alleging it broke an embargo.

Former presidential press secretary Joe Lockhart organized the interview for Esquire writer Michael Paterniti, who sat with the President in August.

The two parties agreed that the interview would run in the December issue.

However, Esquire, through its PR agency Dan Klores Associates, began the usual advance publicity rounds ahead of the issue's release in mid-November, leaving the President feeling betrayed.

White House deputy press secretary Elliot Diringer told PRWeek: 'The understanding here was that this material wouldn't be out on the streets until after the election.'

In the interview Clinton says that the Republicans should apologize for his impeachment. It was posted on Esquire's Web site on Monday, October 30. Commenting to press the same day the President said: 'I was promised faithfully that the interview would be done, released after the election, and I believed it.'

The row over the embargo, helped fuel more press for the Hearst-owned title, which issued a release last Tuesday quoting editor-in-chief David Granger. He said: 'Regarding the timing of its release, there was no embargo requested by the White House. As we always do with newsworthy stories, we released information about our interview prior to the on-sale date.'

Dan Klores Associates has worked with the 650,000 circulation magazine for a number of years. VP Jennifer Eason said the magazine always seeks press in advance of each issue and denied that the PR campaign had broken any embargo: 'We started to feed the news programs, like always when anything is politically volatile.'

Last Monday, Paterniti did the TV talk shows circuit in full, appearing on NBC's Today, the Fox News Channel, CNN's Talkback Live and CNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. 'From a PR standpoint, this has been a success,' concluded Eason.



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