Big Brother

The EPA hired a ‘war room’-style media monitoring company.

Because that’s not weird or hostile at all.

As Mother Jones reported Friday, the EPA signed a $120,000 contract (using taxpayer money) with the opposition research firm Definers Corp. earlier this month.

Definers brings hawkish political strategies to the public relations services it provides to corporations and nonprofits. “At the heart of the Definers Public Affairs’ system is our information operation — our media monitoring and rapid response mechanism known as the War Room,” the company advertises. “A War Room offers the flexibility and dynamism necessary for robust intelligence gathering.”

Not only does the company monitor news coverage, it also claims to “build and influence media narratives, move public opinion and provide powerful ammunition for your public relations and government affairs efforts.”

Definers has deep Republican ties. Its current president, Joe Pounder, was previously research director for the Republican National Committee. Its founder, Matt Rhoades, led Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012. After that campaign, Rhoades launched America Rising, which the Wall Street Journal called “the unofficial research arm of the Republican Party.”

EPA spokesperson Nancy Grantham told Mother Jones, “The Definers contract is for media monitoring/newsclip compilation.”

Sounds like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s plan to sway public opinion by speaking almost exclusively to right-wing media wasn’t working out as he’d hoped.