WASHINGTON: Porter Novelli has deployed a small army of top
executives and a wide cross section of staffers in an attempt to control
the media campaign about missing intern Chandra Levy.
The firm began unofficially working on the campaign when both Chuck
Greener, EVP and general manager, and Mike Frisby, VP and ex-Wall Street
Journal reporter, were individually contacted by members of Levy family
law firm, Dyer, Ellis, Joseph last month. Said a source within the
agency, "(They) rushed in and started working, and after a few weeks
started realizing how much time it was taking. As an agency, we went
back and said we've got to come to an arrangement with the family."
A contract was being drafted last week, and sources within the agency
say the price tag is a modest one with a monthly cap. Greener said the
account is "not a moneymaking venture for us."
Nonetheless, Lorraine Voles (VP and former head of communications for Al
Gore), SVP Steve Daly, Greener, and Frisby are leading a dozen employees
in their bid to control the story.
PN's strategy thus far has consisted of selectively releasing
information to key outlets to heighten public interest and political
pressure. PN claims this strategy has solicited a confession from Rep.
Gary Condit (D-CA) and a spike in media attention to an 11-week-old
"I think there's clearly a connection to the fact that in Friday (July
6) morning's Washington Post there was a big story with Chandra's aunt
Linda Zamsky, on the record, detailing the relationship that Chandra had
with the congressman. Hours later that evening, (Condit) decided to talk
to the police and acknowledge for the first time that there was a
relationship," said Frisby.
It was PN, Frisby added, that convinced Levy's aunt to go on the record
with her knowledge of her niece's relationship with Condit. Zamsky had
previously been widely quoted as an off-the-record source.