PR response to Tablet’s Women’s March story turns into an embarrassing disaster

Monday I wrote about a lengthy exposé of the Women’s March published by Tablet magazine. The piece featured a number of threads but I focused on the anti-Semitism of the group’s co-chairs and how that revealed itself from the beginning of the organization in a number of awkward encounters. Wednesday, a PR agency called Megaphone Strategies sent out an email to a number of reporters. The PR email offered to share fact-checks and evidence that the Tablet story was rife with errors but suggested reporters should first consider deleting their tweets sharing the Tablet story. From Mediaite [emphasis added]:

A couple days after the Tablet piece came out, which detailed the alleged anti-Semitism of Women’s March co-chairs Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory, Megaphone Strategies staffer Inarú Meléndezsent out a lengthy email to numerous reporters who shared the article, claiming that Tablet planned to correct the piece soon and she could prove it — but only if they deleted their tweets…

“Before we share the fact-check: Can you confirm that what I am sending you is off the record, and will not be published? If you are interested in publishing any parts of the fact-checks below that you will contact us first to secure our agreement? You will let us know if you intend to delete your tweet pushing an article that includes sources/allegations, which were not vetted properly and in line with journalistic ethics? Once I receive your reply, I’ll send over the corrections.

The Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski was one of the first people to highlight this very unusual attempt at damage control:

Numerous other reporters chimed in as they noticed the email.

And there was some evidence the PR strategy backfired. A few reporters shared the story simply because they were irritated by the attempt to bully other reporters into deleting their tweets:

Eventually, Tablet did make some corrections to the piece but those changes fell far short of undercutting the piece. In fact, Tablet senior writer Yair Rosenberg argued some of the corrections actually strengthened the piece:

The NY Times Nick Confessore noted that left-leaning outlets seemed curiously disinterested in the story:

So who is this PR group that sent out the email? Apparently, Megaphone Strategies was started by CNN commentator Van Jones. The group’s Facebook page describes them as “Solutions by the movement for the movement.” Their website lists a whole host of progressive clients including Black Lives Matter, CAIR, Indivisible and, not surprisingly, the Women’s March. I wonder who hired them to send out this email?