Professor laughs it up as lobbyist for America’s Funniest Home Videos

Tall, tan and casual, Peter Loge, a professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs, is not a typical GW professor. Nor does he have a typical day job. When he’s not lecturing in classrooms or grading papers, he’s lobbying for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Loge, a veteran of Capitol Hill since 1995, has served as a congressional staffer for the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and former Sen. Sam Coppersmith (D-Ariz.). He has also lobbied on issues ranging from preserving America’s farmland to the Justice Project – aimed at reducing the number of innocents that receive the death penalty.

Whether he was driving Coppersmith in his dilapidated 1974 Triumph Spitfire to an event promoting Jesus in the classroom or riding a bicycle in a full suit with avid cyclist and state Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Texas), Loge has proven an unfaltering dedication to his work – even if it means an embarrassing moment or two.

His credo is simple: “Take your job seriously and yourself lightly.” And perhaps that is why, shortly after opening his political consulting firm, Milo Public Affairs LLC, earlier this year, America’s Funniest Home Videos decided to take him on as their chief Washington lobbyist. That’s right: America’s Funniest Home Videos.

But don’t write him off just yet: his job has nothing to do with rubbing elbows with Daisy Fuentes and he has never had to petition the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Bob Saget’s raunchy stand-up routine. In fact, this seemingly farcical client presents Loge with the challenging task of combating video piracy – specifically YouTube and similar media – sharing Web sites – in the digital age.

“YouTube is meant to give everyone else a shot,” to let the little guy “show us a better way to do television,” Loge said. “(YouTube) is cool, but posting copyrighted material is theft.”

When he is not teaching a course on language and politics or political rhetoric, Loge finds himself pushing for the handful of clients his new firm already has on board. This means leaving his comfortable Adams Morgan office for multiple visits to the Hill each week while pertinent legislation is being debated.

Loge claims that the majority of his profession is rather droll, yet his passionate depiction of the work seems to speak otherwise. While he purports that his classes are based purely in the fundamentals of persuasion theory and philosophical history, he gets almost giddy when explaining how these concepts are a constant foundation for his everyday work (and that sometimes he uses his students as a sounding board for his tougher projects).

In his mind, the world – and politics – is a constant narrative. As a lobbyist, he is perpetually in search of the perfect tale of hope, loss and redemption to sell his point.

As he would say, “It is impossible to change someone’s viewpoint; you just have to convince them that they agree with you already.”

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