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.
Posted by Amanda Chapel Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This just in from a reliable source... the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) is changing its name. We’ve just learned that the group is considering a new name in order to distance itself from the taint of “behavioral manipulation” and the looming potential of government oversight.
By way of background, on November 1-2 the FTC will be holding hearings on Behavioral Marketing. The purpose of the investigation is to address the consumer protection issues raised by the practice of tracking consumers’ behavior for the purposes of marketplace manipulation.
In a statement released late Tuesday, WOMMA Interim CEO Pete Waldheim was emphatic that his organization does "zero work with behavioral manipulation." However, he later contradicted himself admitting that the issues the FTC is focusing on “are germane to some forms of online marketing” and conceded that these “are related to certain practices in the word-of-mouth marketing industry.”
"Our work with the online world focuses on such issues as involving people in communities, making tools available to help them spread the word, and soliciting and eliciting responses and opinions from consumers about their experiences with products and services. It is not on how to track consumers, or how to surveil individuals’ behavior over time. [Though] we do urge companies to listen and communicate with their consumers who post, for instance, to ratings or review sites, responding to concerns where appropriate."
On the condition of anonymity, one insider said: "Well, unless they change their name and forego a huge chunk of member dues from companies like Edelman... they're dead meat. The public is far more sensitive to manipulation than it's ever been. If the FTC doesn't start looking into their members' practices now, they will soon."
New names currently under consideration include: the Chit-Chat Club; Shel Holtz' Coffee Klatch; The Group Formerly Know as WOMMA; the Happy Talk Facilitators Union (HT-FU); and the Unemployed Marketing Executives Association (UMEA).
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 [...]