Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for January 2017 and February 2017


  • Bimbo
  • February 1, 2017
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image a

Lots of examples in this memo! Additional BIMBOs from the general secretary of Britain’s largest trade union, an IBM executive, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) unintentionally revealing the Democrats’ underlying problems, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler, former Gov. Jeb Bush, a Portland restaurant owner and a Harris County prosecutor. The “stupid statistic” story is Oxfam’s study alleging that the eight richest men in the world own more than the 180 poorest countries combined. Examples of the Wrong Thing to Say from Madonna (who’s mad she was misquoted, poor baby), a restaurant upset with President Trump’s election, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (a repeat appearance), and the editor of The New York Times illustrates the power of a negative word. Do you know what “coprophilia” means? Neither did we. Pope Francis explains. Also, more examples from Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) confirmation hearing, Senator Bill Kintner (R-Neb.) who learns the perils of retweeting, and an attempt to confiscate cell phones at an Obama party, as well as a great, must-read example from Oprah on how to handle pushy media and an example of the importance of storytelling.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“Members of the public are requested not to panic,” was the statement from the Reserve Bank of India in the face of widespread—what else?—panic after the Modi government abruptly cancelled the 500 and 1,000-rupee bank notes. These two most popular values account for 85 percent of the money supply. (An interesting case study: Prime Minister Modi’s government is trying to drive the cash-driven underground economy into the open. It’s too early to see if and how it works, but governments will be watching for several years. The Modi government held the news very close and then unleashed it, creating a tsunami of reaction. We would have recommended something like, “The Indian people are very resourceful and strong, and we will make this transition together.”)

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “India’s Cash-Cancelling Experiment,” Nov. 23, 2016

THE RUNNERS-UP

“This is not Frankenfood,” said André Choulika, chief executive of a company developing gene-edited crops. (The story is about naming crops “gene-edited” rather than “genetically modified,” although as we read the story, we can’t tell the difference. The plants are already in cultivation, providing crops with greater resistance to fungal infections and many other capabilities. This is an obvious case where the better quote would have been, “This is a major advance in creating better agriculture while increasing safety.”

The New York Times, “These Foods Aren’t Genetically Modified but they are ‘Edited,’” Jan. 9, 2017

“Chicago is not out of control,” said police Superintendent Eddie Johnson as the city experienced the highest number of homicides in two decades. (Superintendent Johnson went on to admit, “There’s certain parts of the city that we have to address the violence.” We understand the superintendent’s consternation, but Chicago is very much out of control and the rest of his remarks acknowledged it. Note that the quote becomes the headline. He should have stressed that all the political entities in the city have to work together to address the issue.)

Chicago Tribune, “Top cop: ‘Chicago is not out of control’- just parts of it are violent,” Dec. 6, 2016

“These two are not egomaniacs; they are not desperate to cling on to power for power’s sake,” said Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Britain’s largest trade union. (He was trying to put a positive spin on the Labour Party’s lack of leadership, the implosion of Leader Jeremy Corbyn and ally John McDonnell, and the lack of agreement on a variety of key issues such as immigration. He should have stressed that the Party was committed to helping the average citizen, and at least listening to their opinions on the controversial issues.)

The New York Times, “Under Pressure, Jeremy Corbyn Tries to Recalibrate His Image in U.K.,” Jan. 10, 2017

“We don’t want to scare the crap out of people,” said Caleb Barlow, vice president of IBM Security. (IBM has built itself into a security powerhouse, and Barlow’s group hosts sessions for corporate security departments that create realistic scenarios for them to try to manage. The second half of Barlow’s quote should have been the only quote: “We do want people to feel a little of the adrenaline burst and the pressure.”)

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Training Companies to Handle a Hack,” Nov. 23, 2016

“I’ve got to say, we have no strategy and we have no plan,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) during an interview. (The interview was unintentionally revealing. The reporter doing the interview pressed Cleaver to explain why he was supporting Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) while he said that the Party needed a pipeline of new activists and office holders. “We should bring in young blood, but just not now?” asked the reporter to which Cleaver replied, “Not at this time, not yet.” Should we point out that these two points of view are incompatible? Note that the quote becomes the headline.)

The Washington Free Beacon, “Rep. Cleaver: Democrats ‘Have No Strategy, and We Have No Plan,’” Dec. 1, 2016

“We don’t belong to a class of criminals. We have done, in our view, nothing that is illegal,” said Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler in response to charges from the EPA that the company had installed secret software resulting in over 100,000 diesel vehicles producing emissions above allowed levels. (Didn’t we see this show with VW? And apparently they’re following the same playbook, starting with the initial stage of denial.)

The New York Times, “Morning Agenda: Too Big to Jail, ‘Government Sachs,’ and Automation Nation,” Jan. 13, 2017

“But I’m not in therapy. I’m not in the fetal position,” said Jeb Bush. (Former Gov. Bush was speaking at Texas A&M. It appears he was trying to poke fun at himself and say that he’s run his last race for elective office. He should have said, “I’m going to continue to use my expertise in education and consulting.” Notice that the comment becomes the headline.)

The Week, “Jeb Bush: ‘I’m not in therapy,’” Jan. 13, 2017

“I didn’t hear anyone say anything about lynching and the vibe was certainly not pro-lynching,” said Jeremy Lewis at a holiday party for a Portland, Oregon restaurant company. (The incident was reported by an attendee who witnessed the group hoist a Donald Trump piñata, tie a rope around its neck, and hit it with a metal baseball bat. The attendee reported the “lynch him” comments to the local paper. One of the disturbing things about this story was the paper’s admission that they also had a Trump piñata last spring and beat it apart. This is an example of the power of the word “lynch.” It’s guaranteed to get repeated.)

Willamette Week, “Portland Woman Quits Job After She Says a Trump Piñata Was Lynched At a Holiday Party,” Dec. 16, 2016

“I don’t know George Soros, I don’t know George Soros. I made no promises to Soros or his supporters,” said Kim Ogg who defeated a former judge in a race for local prosecutor in Harris County. (Ogg’s opponent was heavily supported by George Soros as part of a national campaign to take control of local elected law enforcement offices as a way of affecting the country’s criminal and civil justice system.) Thou doth protest too much.

The Daily Signal, “The ‘Staggering’ Campaign of Liberal Billionaire George Soros to Swing Local Prosecutor Elections,” Dec. 19, 2016

STATISTICS

The stupid statistic story of the month is a study released by Oxfam to coincide with the annual gathering of the powerful in Davos, Switzerland. The study reported that the eight richest men in the world owned as much as the revenue of the 180 poorest countries combined. Why is this garbage a “stupid statistic?” Oxfam’s true agenda is higher taxes and confiscation of wealth. The real story is that the comparison of Bill Gates’ net worth of $75 billion is due to his creation of a significant company that employs thousands of people and is in no way comparable to the net assets of a country like Nigeria. And why is Nigeria so poor? Corruption, horrible management, and tribal rivalries to name a few. If the U.N. took Gates’ billions and distributed it to Nigerians, how long do you think it would last? The country with the most unequal distribution of wealth? Russia. Not that unequal income is irrelevant. We want to see it addressed too, by recognizing that capitalism is the force that creates opportunity and wealth.

USA Today, “Study: 8 people have same wealth as world’s poorest half,” Jan. 15, 2017

THE WRONG THING TO SAY

“I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House,” said Madonna speaking at the Women’s March on Washington. (So the aftermath of this incident is that Madonna is outraged that this snippet was taken from a speech where she also said, “I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context.” Sorry, Madonna. This is what the media does to people. If you talk about “blowing up the White House,” it will be quoted. And make the headline.)

ABC News, “Madonna Defends ‘Blowing Up the White House’ Comment: ‘I am Not a Violent Person,’” Jan. 22, 2017

“If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis,” read a sign posted in a Honolulu restaurant, Café 8 1/2. (Predictably, the sign went viral. The owners of the restaurant tried to insist customers didn’t care, and Hawaii went overwhelmingly for Clinton, but we’ll be surprised if they survive. The word ‘Nazi’ is one of the top ten words that gets repeated.)

Fox News, “’You cannot eat here’: Hawaii café riles residents with ban on Trump voters,” Dec. 27, 2016

“I’m not a news source,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, defending posting a number of questionable comments and stories on his Facebook page. (Miller referred to Hillary Clinton with what’s called the ‘c-word’ and posted a fake photo of President Obama holding a Che Guevara shirt during a visit to Cuba. Commissioner Miller may not be a news outlet but he is a statewide official holding a responsible position. People listen to him. Republicans need to hold Miller accountable.)

Salon, “’I’m not a news source’: Texas official defends his Facebook fake news posts,” Dec. 8, 2016

“Lie” is a very powerful word. See the interview Terry Gross of NPR did with The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet about his decision to use the word in a headline charging Donald Trump with lying. (The interview is Gross’ usual lengthy, multi-topic discussion. What’s interesting here is that the discussion about calling the candidate, then President-elect Trump, a “liar” dominates the interview and becomes the tease at the top.)

NPR, “’New York Times’ Executive Editor On The New Terrain of Covering Trump,” Dec. 8, 2016

Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) confirmation hearings for attorney general showcased all that’s wrong with what’s become known as “borking” (obstructing someone, especially a candidate for public office through systematic defamation or vilification). Sessions also fell into the trap of repeating negatives when he said, “I do not believe that Muslims as a religious group should be denied entry to the U.S.” which was quoted in most outlets. He also insisted, “I did not harbor the kind of racial insensitivity that I was accused of. I did not.” One of the interesting wrinkles in the testimony is that the son of one of the activists opposing Sessions is supporting the Senator and challenged the claims that Sessions’ actions were motivated by race.

USA Today, “Jeff Sessions defends himself during Senate grilling,” Jan. 10, 2017

Brian Stelter referred to President Trump’s administration as a “dictatorship.” He also spit out a series of outrageous questions: “Will Trump use federal agencies to twist the truth?” and asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer “Would you quit if you were asked to lie?” (In our view, Stelter is welcome to position himself as a far-left commentator, but CNN should think seriously about its own reputation.)

News Busters, “CNN: Is Dictator Trump Making You ‘Doubt Your Own Eyes’ to Truth?” Jan. 22, 2017

AND WE LEARN A NEW WORD

Do you know what “coprophilia” means? Neither did we. Pope Francis charged the media with this statement, “I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into –no offense intended- the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true.” (We certainly agree with the Pope that with “the sickness of coprophilia, a lot of damage can be done,” but we’re skeptical that the media will take the Pontiff’s advice to heart. I guess this is what prayer is for.)

New York Post, “Pope Francis says spreading fake news is a sin,” Dec. 7, 2016

SOCIAL MEDIA

Nebraska state senator, Republican Bill Kintner, retweeted a comment by radio personality Larry Elder suggesting that some of the women protesting Trump at the Women’s March were too ugly to be sexually harassed. It was a stupid thing to do and predictably drew attention to an earlier scandal. A reminder: things that radio hosts do should be viewed with suspicion. What’s funny or edgy on-the-air doesn’t look so good when tried at home.

ABC News, “Nebraska State Senator Criticized for Women’s March Retweet,” Jan. 23, 2017

Our latest example of “everyone has a camera” and “everything goes viral” comes from a very long article in The Atlantic about a party that BET hosted in October for President Obama and a number of celebrities who love him. The writer noted, “Cellphones were confiscated to prevent surreptitious recordings from leaking out. The effort was unsuccessful. The next day, a partygoer would tweet a video of the leader of the free world dancing to Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’.” (And they were surprised by this?)

The Atlantic, “My President Was Black,” Jan./Feb. 2017

GOOD EXAMPLES

A great example of a response came from Oprah Winfrey who was asked what makes her “nervous” about President Donald Trump. Instead of talking about being nervous, although Winfrey was a huge supporter of Clinton’s, she said “I’m smart enough not to comment on that.” The reporter wouldn’t stop asking, so she said, “No, no, no, no, no, no. Not out here in the middle of signing autographs. I don’t want to be in the Twitterverse, honey. Keep me out of it.” (Way to go, Oprah!)

The Hill, “Oprah: I’m too ‘smart’ to talk about Trump,” Jan. 3, 2017

A wonderful example of the power of storytelling appeared in The New York Times article about a generation of young auto designers. Instead of raising huge amounts of capital by traditional methods, they are crowdfunding their development. Darren Marble, chief executive of CrowdfundX and an advisor to several of these companies, explained, “Crowdfunding is all about storytelling. You need to tell a story that emotionally inspires people. Financial return is secondary to this for investors.” (Keep your eyes on Storm Sondors who is designing a three-wheeled electric car selling for $10,000.)

The New York Times, “Would-be Carmakers Tap the Wisdom, and Dollars, of Crowds,” Dec. 29, 2016 



You May Also Like


04 16 15 jargon
04.16.15

The Jargon-Free Speech Movement

As I was moved from my L&D (that’s labor and delivery for those of you not versed in the healthcare jargon) suite to my postpartum room, a million thoughts were running through my mind. “Will I be a… more 

Bimbo blog image d
08.01.10

BIMBO Nominees for August 2010

What a target-rich environment! We have BIMBO comments from the White House spokesman, Whoopi Goldberg, NBA commissioner Stern, The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a school district. This month it seems as if Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep.… more 

Bimbo blog image c
04.01.14

BIMBO Nominees for April 2014

This month’s BIMBO comments came from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a California business’ vice president, the Rechargeable Battery Association (think lithium and MH flight 370), Consumers for Paper Options, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., data guru Nate Silver and… more 


Back to Top