||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (December 2014)|
The Rendon Group is a public relations firm headed by John Rendon.
Rendon Group has been followed by complaints of excessive spending. In a 1995 audit of the group's expenses prompted by its client, the CIA, $23 million had been spent in the first year on a $100 million budget. Some of his staff were paid more than high-level CIA officials, flew first class and reported having no incentive to reduce costs.
The New York Times reported in February 2002 that the Pentagon was consulting the Rendon Group to assist its new information operations agency, the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) Of which it only consulted The Rendon Group. However, the OSI was publicly disbanded following a backlash when Pentagon officials said the new office would engage in "black" disinformation campaigns of which The Rendon Group was not a part of.
In December, 2005, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Rendon Group received $1.4 million in 2004 to help Afghan President Hamid Karzai with media relations. According to the paper, after seven months Karzai and Zalmay Khalilzad, then the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, were ready to get rid of the company. Despite the lack of support from Karzai and the ambassador, the company received another $3.9 million funded by the Pentagon to create a media team for anti-drug programs.The article quoted Jeff Raleigh, who helped oversee Rendon in Kabul for the U.S. Embassy, as saying the contract was "a rip-off of the U.S taxpayer". Later Jeff Raleigh's Afghan supervisor said Jeff wanted full control of The Rendon Group and was out of his bound. Furthermore the same official, Ambassador Daod, in a signed letter said that The Rendon Group did a great job and really helped his office. Advocates say Rendon helps fight propaganda from Islamic fundamentalists. Critics say the Pentagon's use of media firms such as Rendon blurs the line between public relations and propaganda.
In late August 2009 Stars and Stripes reported that the Rendon Group had been employed by the United States Department of Defense to profile journalists who wrote about the war on terror. Stars and Stripes reported that Rendon's profiles included recommendations on how to "neutralize" coverage the DoD would regard as negative.
The military said it did not use the ratings to manipulate coverage or deny reporters access to cover the war. Following the criticism the Department of Defense terminated Rendon Group's contract, saying it was not due to fault of The Rendon Group.
- Bamford, James. "The Man Who Sold The War: Meet John Rendon, Bush's General in the Propaganda War." Rolling Stone November 17, 2005. [Winner of 2006 National Magazine Award in the category of "Reporting."]
- Foer, Franklin. "Flacks Americana: John Rendon's Shallow PR War on Terrorism," The New Republic May 20, 2002.
- Miller, Laura, and Sheldon Rampton. "The Pentagon's Information Warrior: Rendon to the Rescue". PR Watch 8.1 (Fourth Quarter 2001).
- The Rendon Group. Online posting. The Rendon Group November 17, 2005. Accessed October 11, 2010.
- The Rendon Group. Online posting via PR Newswire. The Rendon Group September 3, 2009. Accessed October 11, 2010.
- Brand, Stewart. "John Rendon: 'Long-term Policy to Make the War on Terror Short.'" Report on talk presented by John Rendon at the Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, California. July 14, 2005. Information posted or re-posted by user "bkeating" in The Long Now Foundation (message board). July, 2005. Incl. text and link to audio download.
- Chatterjee, Pratap. Rendon wins hearts & minds in business, politics & war, CorpWatch, August 4, 2004.
- Goodman, Amy "The Man Who Sold the Iraq War." Democracy Now November 21, 2005.
- Hedges, Stephen J. "U.S. Pays PR Guru to Make Its Points." Chicago Tribune May 12, 2002.
- Stein, Jeff. "When Things Turn Weird, the Weird Turn Pro." TomPaine.com February 27, 2002.
- Franklin Foer. "Flacks Americana". NewRepublic.com. New Republic. Archived from the original on 2014-08-13. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- Mar 11, 2002 (2002-03-11). "The Debate Within". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
- Dao, James; Schmitt, Eric (February 19, 2002). "A NATION CHALLENGED: HEARTS AND MINDS; PENTAGON READIES EFFORTS TO SWAY SENTIMENT ABROAD". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.[dead link]
- Dao, James. "New Agency Will Not Lie, Top Pentagon Officials Say". The New York Times.
- Graff, Peter (2009-08-31). "U.S. military ends journalist profiling contract". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2009-09-01.
- The Rendon Group (2005-11-18). "Letter to Editor Of RollingStone Magazine". rendon.com. Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 4 October 2014.