Propp's PR defuses claim that parents are 'monsters'

ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Speedy PR played a key role in managing the recent

media circus surrounding Matthew Propp, the 22-year-old man whose

adoptive parents face kidnapping charges for absconding with him in 1980

after a judge ordered that he be returned to his biological parents.

At 3pm Friday, March 9, Tom Garrity of The Garrity Group received a call

from Propp's attorney asking for help responding to media inquiries

surrounding the case. Propp, whose adoptive father had turned himself in

to legal authorities late Thursday, was unhappy with coverage in the New

York tabloids painting his parents - New York natives - as monsters.

Propp needed help communicating the message that he fully supported his

adoptive parents, despite being unable to comment on the legalities of

the case.

Garrity's six employees were pulled off other projects and sent into

action. Within a couple of hours, once key messages were drafted and

logistics worked out, the team staged an impromptu news conference in

the Propps' front yard, where many reporters had already begun to


On Saturday, Garrity and Propp met one-on-one with reporters from print

media, including the New York Daily News, New York Post and Newsday.

'Matt felt that the reporters hadn't been getting the full story, so he

emphasized that the Propps were the ones to turn themselves in and that

he had enjoyed a good and normal childhood,' said Garrity. He added that

the resulting Sunday print coverage 'set the tone' for interviews of

Propp by all the New York morning TV news programs on Monday.

Following appearances on ABC, NBC and CBS, the team gave a statement at

the Queens courthouse where Propp's father had just been released on

bail, and upon returning to Albuquerque Tuesday, addressed local media

in a similar fashion.

'After that, we went dark on all media access to the family. Journalists

are now being told that we are focusing on the merits of the legal case

and that we will have no further comment until after a hearing in late

April,' said Garrity.

Evidence suggests Garrity's efforts were successful. More than 130

national and international stories that broke following the first press

conference carried the team's key messages. In addition, two of

Albuquerque's main local TV newscasts ran online polls indicating that

public opinion had swung in the Propps' favor.

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