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Publicizing Morgan Harrington’s disappearance. Was Levick Strategic effective in their approach?

September 20, 2010

I thought my blog audience might find the following interesting:

Yes, there was a public relations firm involved with the website. 

Yes, it’s quite likely that unflattering speculations regarding Morgan’s activites the evening of her disappearance were removed from (As a side note, former forum members have cited censorship of their postings as a primary reason for their departure.)

Yes,  its quite plausible that bits of information which risked tainting Morgan’s image were held back from the public.

(This apparently also alienated a fairly large audience’s initial interest in the case.  Time and time again, I read postings complaining on the lack of truly useful information regarding the circumstances of Morgan’s disappearance.  No pictures whatsoever of Morgan and friends have been made available from the night of the concert.  As another poster had stated, “so are we supposed to actually believe that a group of young women attending a rock concert weren’t taking dozens of pictures?”  It was over four months before the Virginia State Police made their offical announcement: “Morgan Harrington had been drinking.”) 

How can I make the statements above with such conviction?  Well, take a look:

So when you add Valerie Elston’s Twitter posting, to her July 2nd blog posting, what do you come up with?

My conclusions are:

1.  That Levick Strategic was heavily involved with the Harrington case

2. Their goal was to help develop an image of Morgan that would best sway public sympathy

3. That Valerie Elston was heavily involved with the project, and is no longer with Levick Strategic for whatever reason.

4. That the cupcakes were mediocre at best.   She should of splurged and gone to Bubblecake. 

Now I have no problem in Levick Strategic making an effort to get the word out regarding Morgan’s disappearance, I did some of that myself.  When it comes to swaying the public’s sympathies, through misleading or incomplete information… that rubs me the wrong way.  I dont like being manipulated.  Bulldog prefers dealing in truth and facts. 

As I’ve stated previously, it was when the postings on had sappy and unrealistic I started to question what was really going on.  The Bulldog was not alone in his skepticism either.   A number of forum members became irritated at the apparent censorship and lack of realism.  Many visitors dropped off when things headed in this direction.

“Levick helped streamline and turn it into a polished, comprehensive site that offers original content while linking to news sources and social networking arenas.”

Uhh…. according to whom?

I’m sorry, but I don’t share that hypothesis.  Levick Strategic may of turned it ( into something, but it didn’t really strike me as a “polished, comprehensive site.”  If the goal was to get the word out regarding Morgan’s disappearance, yes that was successfully done.   If the objective of was encouragement of meaningful discussion… a unified effort helpful in solving the mystery… it ultimately resulted in failure. 

Although the forum is back up now, for over a week it’s future was in question.  A hastily written message by Dr. Harrington informed visitors that the forum “was taking a break.” Some of the online conversations between members had deteriorated into heated arguments and (according to Dr. Harrington’s message) even threats. 

Ultimately, none of the billboards, tv appearances, or other forms of publicizing Morgan’s disappearance had anything to do with Mr. Bass coming upon her remains.  It was sheer luck, the changing seasons, and the need of a farmer to check his fields that lead to the grisly discovery.  It seems to me that interviewing people from the concert that evening, along with following up on leads pointing towards the UVA campus had a much better chance of being productive.

Anyway, these are my opinions.  Perhaps some of my readers have their own thoughts to contribute on the matter.




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