After Michaele and Tareq Salahi surfaced late last week as the now notorious White House crashers, their publicity requests went through a woman by the name of Mahogany Jones. While Jones turned down all press requests, her presence in the Salahi affair opened up a new set of questions for me. Here's a rundown of all the bizarre and suspicious behavior that is yet to be resolved or explained.
2. The media at first refers to Jones as "Mahogany Jones, who identified herself as a publicist for the couple." By the next day, she becomes the Salahis' "publicist" or "press agent."
3. An appearance on Larry King Live is scheduled for Monday night. It was subsequently canceled, rumored to be part of the Salahis' efforts to get money for their television appearances. Jones, in a statement to the press, denies that the Salahis are looking for a payday.
4. Paul Gardner is identified as the Salahis' lawyer and who the Salahis offer up as the link between them and the White House guest list. Gardner's Web site identifies Jones as the contact person for press inquiries. Gardner insists that his clients were invited to the state dinner. He quickly becomes a spokesperson for the couple, though he communicates through their Facebook page. Jones defers to Gardner, somewhat.
5. Washington City Paper lambasts Jones for her terrible writing.
6. Gardner and Jones are rumored to have quit.
This may be a case of bad mismanagement of an already toxic situation, but doesn't it seem like there's more to this story than just some poor public relations decisions? Also, why'd the Salahis choose Jones and Gardner to represent them in the first place? And, finally, If the Salahis were so methodical with their plan to get cameras into the White House dinner, how could they put their trust in these two who seem to have only further damaged the Salahis' image over their first week in the spotlight?
For people who have been hailed by some as genuises, they have a lot of explaining to do - especially on the publicity side.