In New York magazine this week, Graeme Wood explores the world of paid online "reputation management" firms, which charge up to $10,000 per month to try to push bad stories about you off the front page of Google. And an old friend showed up!
It's Irena Briganti, the Fox News PR hatchet woman known for being the most vindictive flack in the media world. Remember how reporters who'd faced her wrath told us she was "one of the absolute craziest" publicists in the world, "out of whack?" We do. And, lo and behold, so does Google. Not that Irena didn't try to change that fact:
But when sleuthing through the metadata, I noticed other names thrown in incongruously: Joe Ricketts, Helen Lee Schifter, Irena Briganti, Antonio Weiss, and Luke Weil. I also noticed the same Wikipedia editor, Belkin555, had tidied the entries of several of them...
When I Googled the phone number on the [fake press releases designed to cleanse the online reputation of Samuel Phineas Upham, the main subject of the story], I found that it also appeared on very-similar-looking press releases for Schifter, Briganti, and Weil—like Phin, they had been appointed to this-or-that editorial board, and the releases praised them for their intelligence and generosity. One celebrated Briganti’s work in history, and said she’d studied at Brown; in fact, she’d gone to suny-Albany, where she’d majored in communications.
We've emailed Irena Briganti for a comment and we'll update if she gets back to us.
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[New York. Photo: Getty]