One two three four we don’t want your stinkin’ war
“Don’t Tase Me Bro!” became the rallying cry of disenfranchised college students this week as one slightly unglued academic took the zap heard round the world at a John Kerry speaking event. YouTube videos of the tasing became the subject of news segments, T-shirts went on sale the next day, designer tasers were hot items on eBay. That was but one sign of the return of radicalism in America. Other signals included arrests and riot police at a boisterous anti-war rally in Washington D.C. and a march on Jena, Louisiana that was reminiscent of Selma a generation ago. It harkens back to a time when all you needed to get out your message and attract the media was adept sloganeering and a willingness to confront authority. Only now we have the power and simplicity of the Internet to amplify and sustain dramatic local news. The video Jena Six, a photo story, has been viewed 260,000 times in the past two months.
Of course, for every effective protagonist there is an equally forceful antagonist. You have Rudy Giuliani more than willing and able to step into that role. Rudy jumped all over the New York Times MoveOn.org ad attacking General Petraeus as ‘betray us’ with his own attack ad in the Times the next day as he commandeered the headlines with a sneering rebuke of the pantheon of elitist, liberal east coast media. General Bush, sensing that the story had legs and feeling frisky by the Republican slapdown of Democrats attempt to legislate an end to the Iraq war, waited a week before deeming the ad “disgusting” and insinuating that Democrats were cowards who did not respect the military.
I said it before and it’s worth repeating, Bush is the most masterful PR President we have seen. Like Rudy, he’s a fearless gut player unencumbered by intellectual self-reflection or any sense of compassion for his political enemies. In a perverse way, you have to admire Bush’s media savvy, and the fact that Rudy, a brutal media in-fighter himself, refused to be interviewed for a series of stories on him in the Times last week.
Naked and missing
Strumpette lived up to its tag as the “Naked Journal of the PR Business” last week with a bronzed nude that was definitely not Steve Rubel, the ubiquitous blogging gadgeteer. We imagine that this post elicited a rash of masturbatory activity behind walled off cubicles at PR firms and consequently lead to increased production in media pitching. There is no truth to the rumor that Playboy is planning a spread on the “Girls of Strumpette” or that Britney Spears is staging a dance routine on the episode as the cornerstone of her latest comeback. Also, we have found no proof to substantiate the rumor that it is a Photoshopped picture of Aedhmar Hynes, the MIA CEO of Text 100, who has not posted to her blog since last May.
Here now the news
Dan Rather, 75 years old, refuses to go gently into that good night. You won’t see him smiling, sailing off the Cape and reminiscing about the good old days like his predecessor Walter Cronkite. No. Dan, who apparently suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder so extreme that age cannot temper it, must embark on what may be the biggest story of his career: how CBS screwed him. When I read that Rather has hired investigators and lawyers and is suing CBS for $70 million it seemed like a petty vendetta from an overwrought has-been news Anchor.
Then I read Peter Himler’s assessment of this in The Flack and I realized how juicy this could be. If you want to know how to rob a bank, you get Willie Sutton. Who better to unveil the ugliness and political intrigue of network news than Dan Rather? What does Rather hope to prove? "I think we're going to find out just how much interference at the corporate level there is in national news stories," he told the Washington Post. In this case, did CBS sacrifice Rather to appease the global terror-hungry Cheney-ites running roughshod at the time?
When the legal dust settles, or as it unfolds, Rather should produce his own series on his findings. Rather spent 44 years at CBS. He is a bona fide investigative journalist. He’s been to war. Why is he being treated like the Bobby Bonds of TV journalism? He could distribute his expose through the web. He doesn’t need CBS to bless his legitimacy. He earned it.
It was an intense high chatter PR week that began with Osama bin Looney lobbing verbal and visual bombs from a cave in Pakistan, and ending with George Bush, the Great Bumbler, desperately seeking understanding and legitimacy in a world disinclined to bestow either. Bush’s spin of “building on success” comes three years after “Mission Accomplished.” What does it mean? He intends to pull back a fraction of the 30,000 more troops that he recently sent in to finish the job that he says was already completed. Stripped bare of Rove, standing alone even among Republicans, Bush is looking and sounding more and more like Alfred E. Neumann: “What me worry?” There are lame duck Presidents and then there are lamer ducks and then there is the lamest. Where does Bush’s legacy lie?
“Virtual Thirst is about interpreting anything along the continuum of ‘the metaphorical quenching of thirst’ to expressing the essence of the Coke brand and what it means to you.”
Since nobody could figure out what that meant it seems that few people entered the contest and the campaign did not generate enthusiasm among the virtual/video head cases that should be obsessively swigging Coke as they are glued to their computers and flying avatars around Second Life.
Jaffe and the crayon crew rode the social media boom for six months of its total life span. Then they reportedly lost clients and trimmed staff. As Rumsfeld used to say: “stuff happens.” But they lost credibility with Jaffe’s psychedelic rationalizations and tripped out avataristic delusions that would be rejected in any PR 101 class. You notice that whenever the word of mouth/ social media gang can’t justify a campaign with a result they call it an exercise in “branding”? Is that how MWW will spin its blogola program for Nikon? You have to wonder how valuable an endorsement a Jaffe blog post is to Nikon and MWW. Priceless or useless?
I am going to commit blasphemy here on Strumpette and offer congratulations to Richard Edelman. This month marks the three year anniversary of his blog, 6 A.M.. Richard takes his lumps here and elsewhere but he blogs consistently and thoughtfully on a professional level. Yes, many posts start with a drink or lunch he is having with an important journalist or “thought leader” and end with mention of an Edelman client or research paper but what is a CEO to do? Look around to his peers at the other top PR firms and you see stale or abandoned blogs, cursory self-serving posts, a real fear of committing thoughts to scrutiny and posterity. Lately, Richard writes a lot less about the “revolution” in media and PR and a lot more about the traditions of the business and his family. His audience is more internal (employees, clients) than external (the PR business and the public) and he knows it. He jumped out into “new media” early, established the lead, and he still holds it. Others are either playing catch-up or have given up altogether.
Mark Rose is editor of PRBlogNews - a web publication focusing on public relations practices in the digital age.
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 [...]