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I've spent most of the day talking to reporters about the PSYOPS story that broke yesterday and has now gone viral. This is the most fun version of the story.

I'm not a good note taker which is why I thought I would record parts of the conference. After the first panel, I decided to record the entire thing.  And Matt Pitzarella of Range Resources (audio files in wmv & mpg) and Matt Carmichael of Anadarko (audio files in wmv & mpg) got caught with their pants down — recommending using military tactics on communities.

Their attempts to spin out of the mess they created has been tragicomic.

So far the responses excuses that Matt Pitzarella has given reporters include:

  • The recordings were edited
  • It was taken out of context
  • I didn't agree with Matt Carmichael (Anadarko)
  • I didn't know I was being recorded

My responses to his excuses:

I did not edit the recordings and when I send those recordings–in their entirety–to reporters, they can tell that.

The session topic was “Designing a Comprehensive Hydraulic Fracturing Media Relations Strategy”

It is important to first listen to the recording of Matt Carmichael. Pitzarella is responding to Matt's use of militaristic tactics and is in complete agreement when he gives an example of how Range Resources also uses military type tactics.

Matt Carmichael, Manager of External Affairs, Anadarko Petroleum said (note quotations):

“If you are a PR representative in this industry, in this room today, I recommend you do three things…”

  1. “Download the US Army/Marine Corps Counter Insurgency Manual because we are dealing with an insurgency. There's a lot of good lessons in there. Coming from a military background I've found the insight in that extremely remarkable. “
  2. Harvard Course – Dealing with an Angry Public
  3. Rumsfeld Rules is his Bible

Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Comms and Public Affairs, Range Resources was the last presenter for this topic. He said:

“I think Matt raised the issue of looking to other industries, in this case the Army and Marines. We have several former psy ops folks that work for us at Range because they are very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments. Really all they do is spend most their time helping people develop local ordinances and things like that but very much having that understanding of psyops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in the in Pennsylvania”

He seems to be agreeing with Carmichael that using military tactics meant for use on our enemies in the Middle East in our neighborhoods is an okay thing to do.

Knowledge of recording:
It was announced at the beginning of the conference and at the end of the conference that all presentations would be taped. Conference attendees received emails letting us know the tapes would be available online in 4 to 6 weeks.

Pitzarella might have missed the announcements be cause–BURNING IRONY ALERT–he missed a lot of the conference while he did “Crisis Management” on Range's latest spill in Pennsylvania. But he should have gotten the emails. Besides, changing your message because you know it's being taped is not exactly transparent.