Exposed Lobby Firms Harp on Harper's

The two lobbying firms unflatteringly profiled in a Harper's Magazine article on Washington DC lobbyists for foreign dictators -- APCO Worldwide and Cassidy & Associates -- are not amused. In researching the piece, Harper's reporter Ken Silverstein presented himself to the firms as someone interested in rehabilitating the poor image of Turkmenistan, "one of central Asia's most repressive countries." APCO's B.J. Cooper called the Harper's piece the "most unethical reportorial project" he's ever seen, saying Silverstein "lied to" his firm and published information "out of context." Using the "no news here" crisis management tactic, Cassidy issued a statement expressing surprise that "a reporter would go to such extraordinary lengths to gather information in such a deceptive way that really isn't all that new or interesting." Both firms say that Harper's should have at least given them an opportunity to comment. Silverstein admits to "trickery," but defends the article as a "public service."