A report from Vulture.com today states that Harvey Weinstein “retained” former deputy campaign manager to Barack Obama Stephanie Cutter to promote his Best Picture nominee, Silver Linings Playbook. Vulture didn’t report whether Cutter was paid or not. But on February 14, she tweeted, “We’re a little over a week away from Oscars. Check out the making of Silver Linings Playbook.” And then, a week later, she tweeted again with a link to the same movie. And finally, she appeared on a web Q&A with ABC’s This Week to discuss the Oscars, where she pumped Silver Linings Playbook. “That it’s so real and identifiable to everybody in life,” she said.
The Weinstein Company, for its part, has framed Cutter’s involvement as just part of the movie’s attempt to discuss mental health issues more broadly:
When it was clear that Silver Linings Playbook's treatment of mental health issues was becoming a topic in the advocacy community and political circles. Harvey Weinstein sought the advice of a number of friends with experience in those areas, including former Senator Chris Dodd, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, and Stephanie Cutter, who he knows from his work as a supporter of President Obama.
If Cutter was paid, she may have violated FTC rules regarding payola. Under new FTC guidelines instituted in 2009, bloggers have to admit “material connections” to advertisers. The FTC was slated to charge $11,000 per violation. Twitter is singled out for special attention under the FTC rules.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).