Persuasion or Propaganda?
The Effects of PR on a Political Campaign
Join us Monday, September 24 at 7 p.m. in the Johnson Center Sanctuary (or online) for a Worldview Forum with proponents Jonathan Miller and Ben Porritt; moderator, Ann Lawson.
Jonathan Miller is a former two-term elected Kentucky State Treasurer, author of two books on faith and public policy, graduated with high honors from Harvard’s college and law school, co-founded No Labels, a national grassroots reform movement; reached the final table of the World Series of Poker, and with his summer camp sweetheart, raised two remarkable teenage daughters. His website, therecoveringpolitician.com, provides a civilized forum for debating and discussing current issues.
In nearly two decades of public service, Miller held several other senior positions in state and federal government, including Secretary of Finance and Administration in Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Cabinet, Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Legislative Director for Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN). Miller is now in the private sector, and is senior adviser to Wellford Energy and practices law at the Lexington office of Frost Brown Todd.
As a high school student, Jonathan served as president of the North American Federation of Temple Youth, the Reform Jewish movement’s youth organization that his father headed a generation before. Miller teaches Sunday School to high school students at Temple Adath Israel on the subject of Tikkun Olam, the Jewish mandate to help make the world a better place. And his faith journey led him to pen The Compassionate Community, in which he shares his vision of a political system based on the universal principle, in the words of the Scripture, “to love your neighbor as yourself,” and of a society where Americans of all faiths can build a stronger democracy.
Miller and his wife of 21 years, Lisa, an author and health educator, are most proud of their daughters Emily and Abigail, who have begun to follow their own policy passions, without too much noodging from their beaming father.
Ben Porritt has counseled and developed strategies for national campaigns both corporate and political. Porritt advised former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Hunstman during his 2012 presidential campaign and was a public face of the McCain-Palin campaign, serving as a national spokesman and senior adviser to the candidates during the 2008 presidential election.
As president of Outside Eyes, Porritt has worked with companies and brands of varying sizes, advising them on corporate strategy ranging from corporate rollouts and grassroots marketing to brand development and crisis management. He serves as a regular on-air contributor for MSNBC and has been interviewed on FOX, CNN, and ESPN.
Porritt is regarded by many political and corporate leaders as one of the nation’s top crisis media experts and has handled high profile crises, including political indictments, bankruptcies, Sarbanes Oxley, MLB steroid cases, and NCAA investigations.
Prior to joining Outside Eyes, Porritt worked for President George W. Bush as a campaign spokesman and as the press secretary to the United States House Majority Leader. In this role, he helped develop and implement the strategic course for the Republican Party, focusing the party’s message on legislation and critical political issues.
Porritt also served as a spokesman during the 2004 presidential campaign and managed the presidential debate war room. In this capacity, Porritt built and directed the on-site rapid response department for each of the 2004 presidential debates. Prior to working on the campaign, Porritt worked in the West Wing of the White House for President Bush’s communication department.
Porritt earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelors of Science in political science from Bradley University. Porritt is originally from Danville, Ill., and now lives in South Florida.
Ann O’Data Lawson is instructor of Communication Arts and director of the award-winning Forensics team at Malone University. She teaches courses in communication, public relations, writing, and public speaking and also has led service-learning trips to Costa Rica, Egypt, Italy, and Mexico. Before coming to Malone, Lawson worked in public relations at Dominion (then East Ohio Gas), where she represented the company with primary constituencies such as elected officials, media, community groups, non-profits, and schools. She has earned degrees from Geneva College and Youngstown State University.