Friday, October 10, 2008
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's meteoric rise to prominence on the national political scene after only 21 months in office came about with the help of a media relations and marketing consulting firm hired to draw national attention to the state's proposed natural gas pipeline project. Alaska's Department of Natural Resources paid public relations expert Marcia Brier of Needham, Massachusetts $31,000 to pitch stories to the national media that promoted Palin as the driving force behind the pipeline and getting the state legislature to go along with it. Brier sent press releases to national media outlets portraying Palin as an "upstart governor" and crusader against Big Oil, the same story line Palin now uses in her campaign with John McCain. Some state legislators take exception to the portayal of Palin as the sole force behind the pipeline, when many other people worked on the project. Once the PR campaign began, Palin was away from the Legislature so much that lawmakers started sporting red and white "Where's Sarah?" buttons. Among Brier's past clients is a 23 year-old Saudi prince, Bader al-Saud, whom she helped to get a plea deal in a vehicular homicide case after he was arrested for drinking and driving in Martha's Vineyard in 2005.