Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for July 2015


  • Bimbo
  • July 6, 2015
  • by Spaeth Communications

July bimbo nominees

What a month! We have BIMBO comments ranging from Red Sox Manager John Farrell to South America’s Soccer Federation, the LA School Board and the (unfortunately) expected realm of elected officials. We learn from Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, why he can’t be trapped into repeating negatives. This month also presents the Wrong Thing to Say from Donald Trump (multiple times), a Nobel Laureate, a scary Barbie look-a-like, ESPN commentators and legendary evangelist Billy Graham’s son Franklin. We round out this month’s Memo with great twitter examples from Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, departing head of Twitter Jack Dorsey and not such a good example from the BBC. And, lastly, a great example of influence via social media from Taylor Swift.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“We’re not all a bunch of ‘Grey Gardens’ Miss Havishams,’” said Susan Michals, the organizer of CatCon, the first cat convention held in Los Angeles. (Over 10,000 people showed up for panels like “Goodbye Dowdy, Hello Gorgeous: Debunking the Cat Lady Myth.” Joann Biondi provided lessons in how to photograph your cat, including photoshoots with the cat wearing clothes! She taped a live gecko to her forehead to get the cat’s attention. Got ours.)

The New York Times, “At CatCon, Breaking a Stereotype in Ears and Whiskers,” June 7, 2015

THE RUNNERS-UP

“This is not some freak ‘Birth of a Nation’ mockery blackface performance,” said Rachel Dolezal, the now former Spokane NAACP President who is apparently white but changed her appearance and her claim of racial heritage. (This was a very strange incident. It’s wonderful that Dolezal supports people of other races, but, by claiming to have black parents, she went to Howard University on a scholarship and collected other perks. This is deceptive if not stealing. The “con artist” headline resulted from host Melissa Harris-Perry asking, “Are you a con artist?” and Dolezal’s reply, “I don’t think so.” The word “transracial” also appeared, meaning someone who transforms their racial identity to one different from their race at birth. Since we believe words mean something, this is absurd, even dangerous. Absurd—if I identify with the Rockefellers, does that mean I can change my name and claim to be one of the real Rockefellers? Dangerous—it substitutes subjective opinion for fact. Remember Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous advice, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”)

MSNBC, “Rachel Dolezal: I don’t think I’m a con artist,” June 16, 2015

“It’s not a hoax,” said Toyota luxury brand Lexus when introducing a hoverboard just like Marty McFly’s in “Back to the Future II.” The picture showed the rider perched on the board with clear daylight between it and the ground. (This is a winner because it’s a strange marketing phrase. “Not a hoax”?—depends on your definition. Since it’s magnetic, the board operates only over a steel surface and only works as long as the liquid nitrogen holds out. The “hoax” quote was unfortunate because they also said, “It’s the perfect example of the amazing things that can be achieved when you combine technology, design and imagination.”)

USA Today, “‘No hoax’: Lexus creates a hoverboard,” June 26, 2015

“I don’t believe anyone (at OPM) is responsible,” for the unprecedented theft via cyber-attack of millions of sensitive personnel records, said Katherine Archuleta, the office’s director. (In a Congressional hearing, the director blamed under investment, but OPM’s own assistant inspector general reported that mismanagement was responsible. She should have taken responsibility and laid out a solution if she had one.)

USA Today, “Nobody at OPM to blame for massive data breach, director says,” June 24, 2015

“The progressive agenda isn’t ‘left wing,’” wrote Bill Moyers, defending presidential hopeful, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT. Moyers then wrote, “Sanders was tarred at the outset as a doomed crackpot.” (An excellent example of how words get passed from person to person. Moyers was set off by an OpEd piece in The Washington Post by Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., who wrote, “The last thing America needs? A left-wing version of the Tea Party.” So that’s where “left wing” came from, but Moyers appeared to introduce the word “crackpot” as he riffed on a piece in the Columbia Journalism Review that wasn’t attacking Sanders but reviewing the coverage of his announcement and platform. Caution to conservatives who may be chortling over the words “left wing” and “crackpot,” a lot of Moyers’ rant should be taken seriously. He is correct that the solid majority of Americans think the distribution of wealth is “unfair,” having been sold that bill of goods and, more dangerously, that government can redistribute wealth and do it fairly without any implications. Note, as frequently happens, the sensational words and denial migrated to the headline.)

Alternet, “Bernie Sanders Isn’t a ‘crackpot’ – and the Progressive Agenda Isn’t ‘Left-Wing,’” June 4, 2015

“I don’t think the clubhouse is one that has run amok,” said Red Sox Manager John Farrell. (Classic situation: the Sox have had some problems, and he gave a good quote, “My focus is to continue to get better on field,” but it’s crowded out by the “clubhouse” comment. Farrell’s mention that an incident involving Pablo Sandoval was “isolated” also blocked out his otherwise good intentions. That’s the wrong thing to say because it confirms it happened. Again, the BIMBO comment was in the headline.)

The Score, “Red Sox manager Farrell: ‘I don’t think the clubhouse is one that has run amok,’” June 19, 2015

“No polls show that voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton,” insisted her campaign manager, Robby Mook, responding to a series of polls showing the majority of respondents believe she isn’t trustworthy. (This was the wrong thing to say because it just invited columnists to take a second look at the polls. He should have said “It’s too early to pay attention to polls,” because that would be true. Plus, double negatives are very hard for the listener to process. And it made it into the headline.)

The Washington Free Beacon, “Delusional Clinton Campaign Manager Claims Polls Don’t Show Hillary is Viewed as Dishonest,” June 14, 2015

“Our position has not changed,” “Our positions have not altered one iota,” “We’re not going to sign an agreement,” “We’re not going to rush to an agreement,” said Secretary of State John Kerry about the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear technology. (Hamlet? Protesting too much? And we’re not reassured by the additional disclaimer from the secretary, “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another.” Not fixated on it? That’s exactly what they should be worried about!)

The Washington Post, “John Kerry’s ludicrous statements on Iran and Syria,” June 17, 2015

“I did not say I would fix it,” snapped President Obama to a group of Democrats at a fundraiser in California. The group had complained that Washington continued to be dysfunctional with issues of polarization and gridlock still rampant, despite President Obama’s campaign platform to “fix” just that, noting that President Obama had campaigned in 2008 on this issue. (Reminding the Democrats he had said “Yes we can,” not “Yes I can,” the president correctly identified the pronouns but ignored the implication that he would provide the leadership to bring a coalition together.)

The Washington Post, “In L.A., Obama addresses Washington’s dysfunction: ‘I did not say I would fix it,’” June 19, 2015

“I haven’t switched sides,” claimed Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, trying to persuade members of her Workers Party as she urged measures to reduce soaring government spending. (Articles about the proposals all noted that Rousseff is implicated in an unfolding scandal over payoffs, bribes and unfulfilled investment in PetroBras, the state oil company. You know it’s bad when the media starts referring to her as the “embattled” president.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Brazil's Ruling Party Split Over Slump,” June 12, 2015

“We have nothing to hide,” said the South American Soccer Federation, headquartered in Asunción, Paraguay. Known as Conmebol, the association cut a deal with Paraguay years ago granting it immunity from all prosecution – for anything! Caught in the bribery and payoff scandal that has engulfed FIFA, the worldwide soccer federation, Conmebol has basically said buzz off. (Our prediction? This train has left the station, and people are talking to law enforcement to cut deals. Conmebol is going to find itself without any soccer to influence – with or without immunity in Paraguay. Whenever someone protests they have “nothing to hide,” you can be sure they do.)

The Wall Street Journal, “FIFA Probe Shows Soccer State Within a State,” June 19, 2015

“I’m not saying ‘get a D,’” said George McKenna, a board member of the Los Angeles School District, about lowering standards so that students with D grades can qualify for college. (The board took this action because of the astonishingly dreadful record: 51 percent of seniors are behind on courses qualifying them to receive diplomas. Two of California’s most prestigious colleges, California State University and the University of California, have required C grades to be eligible for admission. Lest you think that teachers are the bad guys, teachers at Canoga Park High School, one of the worst performing schools, tried to separate from the school district to gain greater control over the curriculum and funding. Surprise, surprise, the district staff rejected it. Immigration may be the high profile issue in the presidential campaign, but access to better quality education is crucial. Conservatives need to become the advocates for kids and their parents – and for the courageous teachers who have stepped forward.)

Los Angeles Daily News, “LAUSD board passes plan to help seniors graduate,” June 9, 2015

“I’m not defective,” insisted Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, when questioned on why, at age 59, he has never married. Apparently making a joke, he said he would have a rotating First Lady. (It didn’t help that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., described him as a “bro with no ho.” In the discussion, Sen. Graham said too much. He should have just said “That’s not the issue” and changed the topic and stuck to it. Note the comment migrated to the headline.)

Politico, “Lindsey Graham on bachelorhood: I’m not ‘defective,’” June 11, 2015

President Clinton announced he never saw Hillary “study a list of my contributors,” in the escalating disclosure of foreign governments who gave money to The Clinton Foundation initiatives without alerting the State Department. (This is an interesting story on many levels. The Clinton Foundation and projects have raked in tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments. Whatever one thinks of the propriety of the contributions, the media has displayed a remarkable lack of curiosity about the purposes of the gifts, the foundation’s administrative overhead – apparently over 80 percent, way above what what’s considered good practice – and the fact that so many former Clinton political staffers find temporary homes at the foundation. Coincidence? If you parse words, as we do, you’ll also note that the Clinton campaign tried to shift the debate to whether there was a shred of “evidence” of wrongdoing, rather than the appearance of ethical malfeasance. And note the comment became the headline.)

The Hill, “Clinton: I never saw Hillary ‘study a list of my contributors,’” June 14, 2015

“I have not used company resources to make improvements to my home,” said the head of the Toronto Community Housing Group about allegations that he used company resources for a number of expensive appliances to his house. (We’re not clear what the facts are, but CEO Greg Spearn stumbled all around. Media reports also included comments from “sources” saying that employees who worked on the house were told not to talk. We’re always suspicious of these daisy chains of unverified comments. Unidentified sources say that other, unidentified people told them things which can’t be verified. This isn’t journalism.)

Toronto Sun, “TCHC reviewing CEO’s use of resources to install washer-dryer,” June 8, 2015

“I am not racist,” said Amy Schumer, incensed at her critics. (The comedian was reacting to an article in The Guardian, which apparently missed that she is a comedian who creates characters, some of whom are clueless and say dumb things. Her statement about the article started out fine, “I am so glad more people are laughing at me and with me all of a sudden,” but then included a classic BIMBO that became the headline.)

The Hollywood Reporter, “Amy Schumer fires back at critics. ‘I am not racist,’” June 29, 2015

SENATOR CRUZ GIVES A LESSON

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gave a lesson in our techniques when he explained to Fox News analyst Howard Kurtz how he was responding to questions asking if he felt any “animosity” toward gay people. Cruz made us proud explaining how reporters were asking him questions with highly sensational words, hoping he would deny them so they could use the denial quote in their headline. (The senator used the Nixon “I am not a crook” line to illustrate how listeners overlook the denial. We are pleased Sen. Cruz is preaching “never repeat and deny negatives,” and we have urged his campaign staff to supply him with other examples. Merrie’s late husband, Tex Lezar, wrote the speech into which President Nixon inserted the line. We suggest alternatives such as former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s comment, “I am not an idiot.” If you’re regularly reading the BIMBO Memo, you know there are lots of examples!)

Talking Points Memo, “Ted Cruz Accuses ‘Liberal Media’ Of Trapping Him With ‘Sex’ Questions,” June 29, 2015

WRONG THING TO SAY

Donald Trump is more than a celebrity, he’s a self-marketing machine. When he announced his run for the presidency, his campaign contracted with event planning firm, Extra Mile, to hire extras to cheer and hold signs. The Trump campaign denied it hired Extra Mile but one of the extras published the email Extra Mile sent around saying “We are looking to cast people for the event to wear T-shirts and help cheer him in support of his announcement.” Other media had a field day comparing the remarks that the campaign staff distributed before the announcement with what was actually said. On one hand, it’s very funny; on another, it’s disturbing that someone so out-of-control could command so much news attention. We can’t forget to include his back and forth with Univision over the Miss Universe pageant and NBC over his comments about Mexican immigrants. Wake up, media! The only thing that will hurt Trump is to ignore him!)

The Hollywood Reporter, “Donald Trump Campaign Offered Actors $50 to Cheer for Him at Presidential Announcement,” June 17, 2015

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” said Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt at a conference in London. He continued, “Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.” (Oh dear…What rock has he been left under for several decades? At least the good news is that the comments provoked a storm of funny tweets from distinguished women researchers poking fun at the comments! It’s progress when we can laugh at stupid comments rather than reacting with outrage and offended sensitivities. Once again, the comment made the headline.)

The New York Times, “Women Respond to Nobel Laureate’s ‘Trouble With Girls,’” June 11, 2015

And continuing the clueless, sexist epidemic, ESPN commentators Stephen Smith and Skip Bayless opened mouths and inserted feet during the Women’s World Cup by wondering why German players allowed a goal by saying “They might not have wanted to mess their hair up.” (Think, guys, think!)

Mashable, “ESPN’s analyst ripped for sexist Women’s World Cup joke,” June 12, 2015

“I don’t like when people think I am imitating a doll; it’s degrading,” said Valeria Lukyanova, a Ukrainian model with an uncanny facial expression and physical appearance to Barbie. (We’re amused that Lukyanova insisted that her look is entirely natural except her breasts, as she posed for a very revealing photo shoot. If she’s so uncomfortable with the nickname, she should put on some clothes!)

Daily Mail, “Don’t call me the Human Barbie! Now woman with uncanny resemblance to the blonde doll says she hates her nickname because it is ‘degrading and insulting,’” June 11, 2015

Objecting to a Wells Fargo ad of two women sitting down with a deaf girl they are adopting and talking to her in sign language, Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, said that the Graham organizations should not do business with Wells Fargo, charging the ad uses shareholder money to “promote homosexuality.” (We think Graham has picked the wrong target. The touching ad promotes love and outreach to help a child.)

The Charlotte Observer, “Franklin Graham is pulling bank accounts from Wells Fargo for featuring same-sex couple in ad,” June 8, 2015

TWITTER

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett is an avid tweeter, poking fun at himself as “the most avid judicial tweeter in America, which is like being the tallest Munchkin in Oz.” We applaud Justice Willett and pass on his political advice, “It’s political malpractice not to engage smartly via social media.”

Associated Press, “Meet the state Supreme Court justice who’s also Texas’ ‘Tweeter Laureate,’” June 5, 2015

Another nice example comes from the CEO of Twitter, asked to stand down because of the stock’s poor performance. He sent returning former CEO Jack Dorsey, a “Welcome back, @jack!” tweet. We predict that departing CEO Dick Costolo will have a bright future, as he is obviously a great team builder. We’re not so sure about Twitter’s future.

The Washington Post, “Twitter CEO softens his exit with a dose of humor,” June 12, 2015

It was only a matter of time before a rehearsal tweet slipped out. The BBC had egg on its face after releasing a tweet that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was in the hospital – that part was true – and had died. The message was quickly picked up, although the BBC quickly caught its mistake, generating lots of comments.

Mashable, “BBC journalist’s tweet causes panic over Queen’s health,” June 3, 2015

Another think before you tweet example comes by way of the wife of Israel’s Interior Minister, who repeated a “joke” someone told her: “Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak.” Predictably, it was retweeted. She apologized, but once those kinds of words are out, they are impossible to erase.

Jerusalem Post, “Wife of Interior Minister Shalom sparks uproar with ‘racist’ Obama tweet,” June 22, 2015

Pop star Taylor Swift executed a takedown worthy of her last name on Apple Music, protesting the company’s stance not to pay artists for their music during a trial period of the new streaming service. We point out her method, a posting on Tumblr, and her language, a civil “To Apple, Love Taylor” letter. She asked how Apple, with its reputation for progressive thinking, could behave like this and added that was why her top selling albums wouldn’t be on Apple’s service. Apple caved. Congratulations, Taylor!

USA Today, “Taylor Swift executes a sweet smackdown,” June 22, 2015



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