EDITORIAL: The Manchin PR Machine Keeps Rollin'. But Who Buys It?

HNN Staff

A recent story in Esquire magazine has elicited some gasps across West Virginia.  As part of a collection of short pieces on "American heroes," the stylish men's magazine featured a story and photo of Heather Manchin Bresch.  Yes, that Heather Manchin Bresch, Joe Manchin's daughter, whose academic scandal around her faux MBA degree brought down several WVU administrators, including then President Mike Garrison.  In addition, the controversy quite nearly brought down WVU's academic reputation, which could have hurt everyone who has a WVU diploma.

Ms. Bresch is obviously trying to conduct a public makeover, politician-style.  If her political father found ways to slime his opponents ranging from Charlotte Pritt to John Raese, no doubt he can find someone who can brush up his daughter's reputation and get a positive story placed for her in Esquire. It's not that hard.

The write-up in Esquire was not an obvious choice for a "2011 Patriot." The piece claims that Bresch is the "primary author" behind a new piece of legislation called the "EQUIP FDA" Act. This new law will require overseas pharmaceutical companies that sell prescriptions in this country to pay for bienniel inspections.   While the new law comes in the name of safety, it also helps domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers in America.

Was someone feeling the pinch of all those popular Canadian prescription drugs? 

If Heather Manchin Bresch wants to engage in a little protectionism that benefits U.S. pharmaceuticals like her company, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, well, it's a free country.  But does promoting drugmakers like hers make her a "patriot" or simply self-interested?  And did the writer of this Esquire piece check to make sure that Bresch really served as the primary author of this piece?  Given what the WVU community endured for so many weeks over her claims at having earned that MBA degree, it's a fair question.

Clearly, the Manchin public relations machine is working overtime, this time for daughter Heather.  A classic PR textbook play following a scandal is to lay low for as long as necessary before trying to pop your head up again in a more favorable story.  Heather Manchin Bresch took care of first things first, consolidating her power at Mylan Pharmaceuticals. That board must have the only corporate Board of Directors in the country that doesn't care about one of their top execs being proven to have a phony MBA degree. 

So they made her President of that company, regardless of her controversy's effect on WVU and her own public image. A more public example of corporate denial would be hard to find.

However, one notes that Bresch's PR machine didn't try to float this little story by credible regional media, like the news hawks at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or Dominion Post, which exposed so much of the real story behind the Bresch scandal at WVU. 

No, they popped their head out with their best shot at a feel-good piece in Esquire magazine.  Far more than this will be required to persuade the WVU community that Heather Manchin Bresch is a "patriot."








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