Posted by Mark Rose
Am I Dead Yet?
It is a testimony to great drama that a full week after Tony Soprano was killed/not killed the reverberation from the final episode of “The Sopranos” still is: What the hell was that? Blogging conspiracy theorists connected infinite plot devices proving that it all went blank at the end because we were seeing from Tony’s point of view and he was dead. That’s how it is at the end, isn’t it? No drama, blankness, no action. “The Audience Got Whacked,” said the NY tab headline Monday morning, meaning we wuz robbed of a ‘real’ ending. True but not the way they thought. As James Gandolfini was quoted on the front page of The New York Daily News: “Hey, I don’t know if I’m dead.” And isn’t that the most brilliant ending – one we can’t agree on, we still debate, analyze. What next for the Soprano gang? We have it on uninformed sources that Christopher will be helping psychic Jennifer Love Hewitt solve crimes on "The Fuckin' Ghost Whisperah."
Bad Blog Tutorial for CEOs
Michael Kempner, CEO of mid-size PR firm MWW Group, has apparently unveiled a blog meant as a tutorial on why a CEO should not blog. Every two weeks or so Kempner posts a missive that screams “Don’t do this.” Recently, Kempner launched an impassioned defense of his firm’s blogola campaign and then followed it by announcing that he is now a co-chair of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in New Jersey. We are still how many months from the election? How many other Democratic Party candidates are there? Some MWW clients might actually be Republicans. Is there any better way to assure that potential clients pre-judge you, and existing clients and colleagues buttonhole you, than to forcefully, publicly endorse a candidate? Are MWW employees now free to post their political preferences on company blogs, or is that the exclusive right of the CEO? Doesn’t Weber Shandwick, MWW Group’s parent, have a blogging policy about this? Many questions, no answers.
Shut Up and Eat
“Many of the anonymous authors who vent on blogs rant their snarky vituperatives from behind the smoky curtain of the web. This allows them a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seems to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. Unfortunately, this also allows untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact.”
So says the corpulent, trouser-challenged, obsessively self-promoting celeb chef Mario Batali as a guest author on, where else, a blog called Eater, in a post called, what else, “Why I Hate Food Bloggers.” Mario got his linguine all tied up because of his simmering beef with that “hapless NY Post real estate/food hack Braden Keil who has hated me for as long as I can remember, not that he has any value to journalism anyway.” Nothing personal, right Mario?
“But, in the end, I do not hate the blogger. I just expect, and want, more from many of them,” writes the wise chef. Sorry to disappoint, but what is it we should expect from our celebrity chefs? Like, what’s for dinner, and how can I make this at home? There are many comments posted to Mario’s rant but I subscribe most to this one: # 54. “You don't see Thomas Keller or even Bobby Flay or even Rachel Ray(!)for that matter talking crap about bloggers. He used to be cool. Now's he’s just a bitter, grumpy old man.”
Wolf in Hen House
The Bancrofts and Murdochs continue to circle each other for the esteemed prize of ownership and control of Dow Jones, including The Wall Street Journal. When we last visited this subject a meeting was imminent. It seems like the Aussie suitor wowed the Bancrofts enough that negotiation has continued in earnest. The big issue is editorial control and transparency, something Murdoch has finagled to his advantage his entire career as a voracious gobbler of media properties. Murdoch has salivated over the gem of Dow Jones for decades and he wasn’t going to play coy. His strategy of laying out a very generous initial bid worked. The issue of money has been eliminated with a nice chunk of change in the middle of the table, $5 billion. The market is expecting the deal to happen, and the pressure seems to be on the Bancrofts to make it work. Murdoch pressured them to the table through his well-honed PR skills and the power of the media … his media. Fox TV interviewing Murdoch about his bid for Dow Jones was a riot. Tell us why you made such a generous offer for Dow Jones? - asked a puppydog-like Neil Cavuto, obviously in a tricky position. It was like Murdoch interviewing himself, scripted by Howard Rubenstein, his long time PR guy. I would like to see this deal happen and I would like to see Murdoch re-vamp the Journal and the other Dow properties. Murdoch has proven his New Media savvy with acquisitions of MySpace and Photobucket. He can spark the Dow Jones leap into the future. I would also like to see the Bancroft family fight like hell to set up any safeguards possible to keep Murdoch from meddling in editorial. In the end, that’s not possible. It will be the Murdoch kids they will have to deal with. Pearson PLC, publisher of Financial Times, is reported to be considering a bid for Dow Jones, as well. Reuters has received a takeover bid, probably from Thomson. Big media is in play. As usual, Rupert Murdoch is in the middle of it.
Mark Rose is founder and CEO of RosePR/new media, offering best-of-breed digital communications strategies and resources. He is also editor of PRBlogNews, a web publication focusing on public relations practices in the digital age.
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