Posted by Amanda Chapel Wednesday, November 15, 2006
As they say in PR these days, "one door closes and another one... well... closes." To the list of institutions we've noted recently now banning PR outright, namely Wikipedia and Second Life, you might soon be able to add TV. Can you imagine? Well, the Federal Communications Commission yesterday threatened increased regulation to block PR "propaganda."
Speaking at a teleconference set up by Free Press and Center for Media and Democracy, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said that the airways belong to the people and "citizens have the right to know whether the news programming they are watching is propaganda."
Railing against TV stations that broadcast "corporate propaganda," Adelstein threatened FCC regulation. "If the flock ignores the shepherd, it is time to build a fence," he said. Despite an ongoing FCC investigation and industry promises to police itself, local broadcasters continue to air corporate video news releases (VNRs) without disclosure.
The new report is a follow-up to "Fake News: Widespread and Undisclosed," a report on the misuse of VNRs released last April. That report prompted the FCC to launch an ongoing investigation of 77 stations. The new report not only shows that fake news is still a problem, but catches eight stations already under investigation airing new VNRs without disclosure.
The Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and the National Association of Broadcast Communicators (NABC) have tried their damnedest to shut down the investigation. But Commissioner Adelstein said that "the FCC’s investigation of 77 stations named in a previous CMD report would continue despite the call for its halt" and suggested that an investigation of each of these 46 stations in the new report would be launched imminently.
PUSHERS AND USERS OUTRAGED!
In a shocking development, the pusher-producers of the nefarious content and the user-broadcasters are crying foul.
NABC, a consortium of PR service companies that produce video news releases, vehemently refuted the charges. Kevin Foley, president of the trade group and CEO of KEF Media, a major producer of VNRs, called the new report a rehash that contains the "same allegations and baseless charges made in the first one." The NABC has found "once again-that there appears to be no violations of any rules or regulations of the FCC."
RTNDA also slammed the VNR study. In a statement late Tuesday the group said that it had not reviewed all the findings, but some of the allegations in a study are "inaccurate or represent isolated incidents made in error." The group said that even if the allegations were true, "it provides no credible basis upon which the FCC can justify the extraordinary step of inserting itself into broadcast newsrooms and questioning their exercise of editorial discretion."
Adelstein characterized the issue of free speech as a red herring. The issue is about "identifying who is actually speaking."
Imagine a world without fraud and surreptitious selling.
Posted by an Honored Guest Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Letter to the Editor
I read Friday's article "Top Blogger Exposes Monkey Butt" with great interest and frankly some dismay. As the president of 100 Monkeys, Inc., I thought it might be helpful to your readership that we clarified a few key points.
First off, the "Monkey Butt" is a horrible stereotype that plagues our business. Regrettably, there are some practitioners who do engage in that behavior. But in our experience the percentages are quite low. Of our 100 monkeys, not one has ever even displayed the tendency. Actually, chest-beating, high-pitched barks, lunging, lip-tucking, sticking out the tongue, sideways running, and rising to a two-legged stance, are far more common.
Secondly, in our chest-thumping opinion, the whole "to blog or not to blog question" has already become another inane PR topic the stuff of countless PRSA luncheons. Blogs, like good PR campaigns, are all about engaging one's interest and leaving one hungry for more.
Take the capuchin, for example. A new world monkey with a small brain, its sole focus is pretty much food and sex. If you're a seasoned PR pro, you'd think it would be fairly easy to find a way to engage a capuchin, i.e. just hijack blogs about food and sex and incorporate your PR message to whet their insatiable appetites.
But it's really not that simple. For monkeys - like our questionably evolved humans cousins - have differing appetites. Who's to say which food and sex blogs will satisfy which monkeys? The old adage, "Monkey See, Monkey Do" only holds true to an extent, as inevitably the blog about kinky positions involving chocolate might cause one chimp to shriek and bore another poor baboon to tears.
Bottom line: The question of where and when PR belongs in the blogosphere is irrelevant and ironic. After all, the beauty of living in the Information Age is that it's all about choice. When we want something, we can seek it out at the touch of the button or click of a mouse. If we don't want to see or hear something, we simply change the channel or close the browser.
Perhaps a goal for PR in the Information Age is to look at our business as if we're delivering a banana tree to the capuchins -- err, umm, consumers. The monkey can decide for him or herself which banana to take down from the tree to peel and eat. Isn't that really a better and more authentic way to get all the monkeys out there clamoring for our clients' bananas?
100 Monkeys was the agency behind the national coverage secured for the recent "Fastest Plumber Contest."
GREEN BAY, WIS. — Matt Millard of 5-Star Plumbing in Brentwood, Calif., captured the title during the finals of the "Fastest Plumber Contest" in early November at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, here. Contest sponsors Kohler Co. and plumbing wholesaler Ferguson Enterprises had kicked off the competition earlier this year by hosting 65 qualifying events across the country.
During the finals held before a Packers game, Millard recorded a winning time of 1 minute, 18 seconds and took home the grand prize of $3,000.
AN APOLOGY TO 100 MONKEYS
All of us at Strumpette would like to extend our apologies to Ms. Roberts and each of her 100 Monkeys. We are grateful she took the time to edify us on this topic. :)
Okay, totally serious: we are thrilled to have met Mary. Now that's a PR person! We greatly apprecate her creativity and spirit. We wish her and her team continued success.
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
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