Who Is Amanda Chapel By Washington Post

Who Is Strumpette?

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; 8:54 AM

The Original Post can be seen by clicking here.

She seems to know an awful lot about the public relations industry.

She describes her new blog as "A Naked Journal of the PR Business," and includes a naked (if carefully posed) photo.

She calls herself Strumpette . And plenty of smart people are trying to figure out who she is, especially after reading her bio. Under the name Amanda Chapel, it says: "I have 15 plus years experience in marketing communications … I am 5' 4" tall, athletic, Pantene shoulder-length black hair, perfect perky boobs. I present well and am most accomodating. I've slept with clients. I sleep with my boss. I am the consummate PR strumpette."With a mix of industry news, gossip, criticism and sex items, Strumpette.com sprinkles high-toned dissections of the flaws and foibles of the PR business with personal insults and the occasional expletive. Strumpette's posts are quite pugnacious, under such headlines as "PR Mega-Firm's CEO Caught in Big Lie," "Exposing the Communist Blogifesto" and "Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Viagra for the PR Business."

In April, boosted by a mention on Instapundit.com, the site attracted 16,000 unique visitors — modest by Web standards but not bad for a new site that speaks one industry's language.

A Washington Post investigation (okay, a couple of e-mails) yielded responses from a person claiming to be "Amanda," who said: "We are a little (a lot) shy when it comes to interviews."

We ? She says Strumpette now has four collaborators — three other women and a "token male." One is a "dear friend," one a "colleague" and the other two she says she met through the blog. But after talking it over with her collaborators, the e-mail says, they have decided to keep their identities secret.

"Amanda" says that she has "very similar credentials" to the character described in the bio — for example, that she is 5'4" — and, at the age of 37, that she has about 15 years in the PR business. "Amanda" says there are days when she thinks she is making a difference and "days where it all seems to vain and futile."

"Relative anonymity provides us a platform (brand) where we are able to draw attention to some of the hypocritical issues that presently plague PR," she writes. "That's kind of our focus. It's safe. This shields us from ad hominem arguments which are a mainstay of net discussion … Regrettably, that comes without any real depth which by definition constitutes a mob. Mobs like hangins."

Of course, such a stance also allows "Amanda" and her collaborators to slap around people in the business without any accountability.

Brian Connolly, who works for a Chicago communications firm, says that he is close to "Amanda" — he handles the technology behind the three-month-old site — and that she is in fact a woman working in the PR biz.

Some online criticism "spooked the hell out of the original Amanda," says Connolly, a self-described "geek." "So there was a conscious effort to have other people write for it." Besides, he says, a blogger needs "frequency, and that's a commitment that overwhelmed her."

Cyberspace clearly has its mysterious side. "Amanda" may not be a real individual, but if she and Connolly are to be believed, she is "real" in the sense that she's a working professional, taking Internet potshots at some big players in her field.

Who Is Strumpette?

"When I looked at her bio, I thought there's some level of hyperbole or fakery in this," says Jeff Jarvis, a veteran journalist who blogs at BuzzMachine.com . "I also thought, 'Boy, this person doesn't have a life.' "

Some targets are fighting back. After Strumpette criticized Aedhmar Hynes, a public relations executive, Hynes accused her of playing a "vicious game" and making "baseless" attacks.

The site has criticized major public relations firms that use blogging in what they describe as an effort to engage in a dialogue with customers and consumers. "Blogs have already been co-opted by PR as a tool to distribute propaganda more widely."

Mike Krempasky, who works for Edelman Public Relations, wrote on his personal blog : "I don't have a particular problem with the Strumpette. It's marginally funny, and acts like a stripper in a nursing home, which is always due to stir things up. But Wonkette it's not."

Krempasky did some online sleuthing, traced the site's Internet address to Connolly and accused him of being Strumpette. Connolly denies it, saying he hosts a number of Web sites.

Strumpette also took a swipe at Jarvis, a founding editor of Entertainment Weekly. Jarvis has been arguing that a "mob" of customers patronizing companies such as Dell — with which he has been feuding over a defective laptop — can band together and force better service and communication. Jarvis recounts the battle on his site.

"Jeff, you've crossed a line … You are now sounding like some malignant corporate subversive," "Amanda" wrote. "… You expect me to let you and your mud-booted-torch-bearing mob into my house?!"

Jarvis argues that critics should not throw spitballs from behind a curtain of anonymity, as is the case on Strumpette.

"If it were better done," says Jarvis, "I'd almost see it as a book proposal: 'I faked out the blogosphere.' But I don't think it's sophisticated enough. I think it's someone with a grudge and no guts."

Moving right along … Isn't this the kind of thing that would have been called a cover-up in another administration?

"Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that President Bush had personally decided to block the Justice Department ethics unit from examining the role played by government lawyers in approving the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program," says the New York Times .

"Mr. Gonzales made the assertion in response to questioning from Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the committee. Mr. Specter said the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department had to call off an investigation into the conduct of department lawyers who evaluated the surveillance program because the unit was denied clearance to review classified documents… .

Who Is Strumpette?

"Administration officials said Mr. Bush made the decision because he believed there were other avenues of oversight, including investigations by the inspectors general of the Justice Department and the National Security Agency as well as the Intelligence Committees of both houses."

Hmm … What other Justice probes has Bush personally blocked?

Meanwhile, he's about to unleash his first veto:

"Despite President Bush's promised veto, supporters of stem cell research yesterday cheered a Senate vote in which 63 senators, including 19 Republicans, voted to expand research into embryonic stem cells, saying the overwhelming vote demonstrates momentum that will eventually lead to all-important federal support," says the Boston Globe .

"The Senate vote puts both houses of Congress in support of reversing the limitations on embryonic stem cell research Bush put in place five years ago. Still, the vote fell four short of the two- thirds' majority necessary to override Bush's first veto, which could be used as soon as today."

In political news, Cynthia McKinney survived another controversy — but faces a runoff — while Ralph Reed couldn't survive being tied to scandal.

Have the neocons gone underground? Arianna Huffington wants them front and center:

"In his terrific post on the hornets' nest we've kicked open in the Middle East, Gary Hart makes the point that as the fighting spreads, we have seen precious little of 'the nation's wisemen, those neoconservative idealists who saw the great American empire imposing democracy on the Middle East at the point of a bayonet.'

"And, indeed, in the wall-to-wall coverage of the latest Middle East carnage — and the analysis of said carnage — the neocon architects who brought us the invasion of Iraq and the promise that it would bring democracy and stability to the region have been notably absent from the discussion.

"Where have you gone Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, et al? A nation turns it anxious eyes to you.

"In the run up to Shock and Awe, these guys were all over the place, singing from the same song book, letting us know that the fall of Saddam would bring good things throughout the Middle East. With their every pronouncement, you could hear the sound of Arab dominoes falling… .

"The cable and Sunday shows — where so much prewar misinformation was disseminated — need to haul in the war triumphalists and ask them to account for the gulf between their rosy predictions and the bloody reality."

Who Is Strumpette?

Got that, Tim, Bob, George, Wolf and Chris?

Of course, Bill Kristol is very public about wanting more aggressive action against Iran.

At Slate, Shmuel Rosner wonders whether democracy is such a great thing in some places:

"What's happening in Lebanon is a reflection of one of the most troubling aspects of the democracy project: the tendency to celebrate democracy without regard for stability.

"Israelis were always suspicious of American idealism about the tough neighborhood they live in. The hawkish Ariel Sharon and the dovish Yitzhak Rabin had similar feelings about Arab systems of government: It's better to deal with a strong, authoritative, reliable leader than risk the complications of a free and chaotic Arab society.

"But the Bush doctrine complicated matters for wary Israeli leaders. To maintain good relations with the American administration, it became necessary to live with Arab democracy. It was the bitter pill one has to swallow to keep the doctor happy, even if the price was clear and high… .

"A new phenomenon called 'Arab democracy' was born — that is, a democracy in which the militias are part of the government and in which the government is too weak to control the militias. Hamas has a majority in the Palestinian parliament and controls the government; Hezbollah holds 25 of the 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament and controls at least two ministries. But in both cases, the weak leadership is unable to rein in the armed militants, who are effectively controlled by outside destabilizing forces, namely Syria and Iran."

A Beirut blogger called Cedarseed (via Andrew Sullivan) tries to explain the role of Hezbollah (or HA) in Lebanon:

"It occured to me that a lot of people may have no idea why the Shia in the south support the HA so strongly. The HA, being far from stupid, spent years being the benefactors of the population of the south that was otherwise largely cut off from the rest of the country. They built homes for them, organised schooling, hospitalised the needy, brought them spiritual support… . At the same time, the only thing those simple people (way too illiterate and monolinguistic to have access to many sources of information) ever saw from Israel were bombs falling on their heads… . So exactly how do we explain to these people that the HA who fed, treated, schooled and sheltered them are the bad guys, and that Israel is not evil incarnate? As you can see, they've been told being bombed makes them heroes — and they believe it."

American Prospect's Greg Sargent unloads on a Sunday WashPost piece:

" David Broder and Dan Balz have published a lengthy piece on the state of partisanship in this country that is striking in its utter uselessness. The piece purports to be a big-picture look at the fact that despite a brief period of post-9/11 national unity, partisanship is alive and well and national security remains the paramount issue at the center of the intense polarization that dominates politics today.

"Yet Broder and Balz fail to tell you the single most important fact about today's hyper-partisan environment: Things are this way because the Republican Party's leading officials and strategists want things to be bitterly polarized and have done everything in their power to ensure that the electorate remains bitterly divided ." (Emphasis added.)

The piece is useless because they didn't slam the Republicans?

Maureen Dowd's column today might be called Same Old Bush:

"The open-microphone incident at the G-8 lunch in St. Petersburg on Monday illustrated once more that W. never made any effort to adapt. The president has enshrined his immaturity and insularity, turning every environment he inhabits — no matter how decorous or serious — into a comfortable frat house.

"No matter what the trappings or the ceremonies require of the leader of the free world, he brings the same DKE diction, bearing and cadences, the same insouciance and smart-alecky attitude, the same simplistic approach — swearing, swaggering, talking to Tony Blair with his mouth full of buttered roll."

Some reminders that this is a tough time for the newspaper biz:

"The New York Times is planning to reduce the size of the newspaper , making it narrower by one and a half inches, and to close its printing operation in Edison, N.J." That will cost 250 production jobs. And while lots of papers, including The Washington Post, have done this, it will mean a 5 percent cut in Times news space.

Plus: "The Wall Street Journal calls it a 'jewel box,' but readers of its front page will know it by its common name: advertising. The Journal today confirmed long-time speculation that it would open its front page to advertising , probably in September, a move that could bring in tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue each year."

And on the hockey front, "L.A. Times beat writers will no longer routinely cover road trips of the Kings and Ducks."

Here's some big media news: "The National Enquirer published an apology and retraction in its British edition Tuesday to pop star Britney Spears , whom the tabloid last month reported was ready to split from husband Kevin Federline."

Finally, did you get a look at Bush's hands-on diplomacy with Angela Merkel? Is it me, or does she look not all that thrilled at the shoulder massage?

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