The uprising in Burma-Myanmar reached a fevered pitch this week and reminded us of how important blogging can be. Citizen journalists on the ground reported on skirmishes and posted graphic pictures of death and bloodshed as photographers were cut down by gunfire and monks were killed, beaten, corralled and confined. We may choose not to react, or we may find ourselves impotent against a far off military regime, but we cannot claim ignorance. When the junta cut Internet access I really felt their pain. I am tethered to the Internet at least six hours a day and life without it seems inconceivable. When Myanmar blogs went black it was a cruel reminder that there are still places in the world that can enslave its people and prevent the rest of humanity from peering in.
As of today the people of Myanmar are finding a way to break through the digital iron curtain. Reports and images are coming through an adept London-based blogger, Ko Htike, who is feeding news to CNN and other mainstream media for wider distribution. Burmamyanmargenocide is a good central site that is aggregating news from inside the country. Bloggers inside Burna-Myanmar are risking their jobs, businesses, families, even their lives to get the word out. We have an obligation to pass the news to the widest possible audience.
The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, zipped through my neighborhood on the upper west side of Manhattan last week, with a quick stop at Columbia. What seemed like a tailor made PR opportunity for the nuke-loving, genocide-denying, great-Satan-hating dictator turned into a humiliating turn as the President of Columbia, Lee Bollinger, excoriated his “petty tyrant” guest. Bollinger was playing to an American audience, but Ahmadinejad was playing to his constituency. The Arab world was sympathetic to the Iranian’s slight by the Great Satan and the Iranian government was emboldened enough to label the CIA and the U.S. military “terrorist organizations.” The rationale is the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, and secret jails in other countries. So, there, after the ‘dialogue’ in the U.S. we are more polarized than ever. So when do we stop talking and start shooting?
Burson blows it big time
While Strumpette was lashing Ogilvy to the whipping post for pimping online gambling, and once again belittling Ronn Torossian for flacking Girls Gone Wild, Burson-Marsteller, supposedly a blue chip PR firm, was really mucking in the sleaze. Burson has been fronting a bogus organization on behalf of Microsoft to try to stop Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick. The organization was PRing for a “more transparent and competitive Internet,” but failed to tell reporters and organizations that Burson was on this mission at the behest of Microsoft. Burson was busted by The Guardian and then The Wall Street Journal followed with an in-depth piece. The organization, Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplaces (ICOMP) now says right up front on its website that this is a Burson-Microsoft scheme. The pathetic list of “signatories” to this initiative underscores its utter failure.
It seems that PR firms will always push the ethical envelope but it is up to individual account people to take responsibility for their actions. I have a simple rule in contacting the media. Within 15 seconds of the call the reporter will know: a) who I am b) who I represent c) why I am calling. No bull, no schemes, no lies. Simple. Burson’s actions here are reprehensible. I would think they know better but obviously they don’t. Let’s see if Harold Burson addresses this sad episode on his blog.
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
Kathleen Durazo about A Measly $2.8 Million Goes Missing, Lawsuit Results Fri, Jul 31, 10:58:34 AM Ray Durazo (the founder) sold the company to Dan in 1999. He was not involved in any of this. He (and I) found out about the lawsuit in the LA Times. In addition to embezzling this m [...]