Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for June 2009


  • Bimbo
  • June 1, 2009
  • by Spaeth Communications

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MEMO TO FRIENDS AND CLIENTS

Great Quote

“The purpose is to foster open minds and make the agony of decision making so intense that one can escape only by thinking,”  Fred Friendly as quoted by Lee Emery, Chief Executive Officer, Texas General Counsel Forum.

WINNING BIMBO

“I ain’t a monster,” said rapper Chris Brown, in a YouTube video, about his arrest for battering his former girlfriend Rihanna. (The pictures of Rihanna beaten up certainly prove that his definition of “love” is peculiar.)

People.com, “Chris Brown – ‘I ain’t a Monster,’” May 27, 2009

RUNNERS-UP

“It’s not a quid pro quo.”  “There’s no violation of any law, no conspiracy here.” “I had no intentions of raising any money for the governor.”  “There was no deal.” Sen. Roland Burris squirmed and blasted himself into a new level of BIMBO during a phone interview with Chris Matthews. Sen. Burris was trying to explain a taped conversation with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother where Burris seemed to commit himself to raising money for the governor and where he also mentioned the appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Mr. Obama. (This takes the cake for the sheer number of BIMBOs, only some of which have been included here, and for trying to explain the unexplainable.)

Hardball with Chris Matthews, May 27, 2009

“We did not torture anyone,” former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice told a group of Stanford University students. A week later, at an elementary school, she was again asked about the controversy over waterboarding, by a 4th grader, and responded, “The president was not prepared to do something illegal.” (This illustrates the BIMBO trap as well as how negatives prevail over positives. The former Secretary also said, “I hope people understand we were trying to protect the country,” but the “torture” and “illegal” words were predominate. Note the headline.)

MSNBC, “4th grader asks Rice about torture,” May 4, 2009

"It had nothing to do with Patty being a spendthrift,” said New York Times economics reporter and author Edmund Andrews defending his book, Busted. The book details how he, a well paid and sophisticated economics writer, could go broke. It turns out several significant events, like two bankruptcies, were omitted from an excerpt in the Times. (Why is anyone surprised by this? So called journalism has moved further and further from the facts and is in thrall to “tell me a good story.”)

Gawker, “Credit-crunched Times’ writer Edmund Andrews Responds to Sketchiness Allegations,” May 23, 2009

“I am not cheating on Kate,” said Jon Gosselin, star and husband to Kate of “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” a reality TV show about the couple and their twin and sextuplet children, after photographs flew onto tabloid covers of him leaving bars late at night with Deanna Hummel. (Our first reaction was that this was so sleazy. Hummel’s brother and sister provided copious quotes and details of the alleged trysts. But then we decided it was just sad. Jon clearly wanted out of the high dollar but high pressure job coupled with its minute scrutiny?. When he was asked about whether he might do a book tour, he candidly replied, “I can’t write. Sometimes I can’t talk either.” And looking extremely sad, he added, “This is not what I chose. It was chosen for me.”

Daily News, “’Jon & Kate Plus 8’ star Kate Gosselin ‘very hesitant to believe’ Jon Gosselin is cheating,” May 7, 2009

Associated Press, “Reality TV’s Jon says he didn’t cheat on Kate,” May 7, 2009

The Today Show, “Kate ‘hesitant to believe’ Jon was unfaithful,” May 7, 2009

“My son is not in any medical danger,” said Colleen Hauser, whose 13-year-old son has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a life-threatening but treatable cancer, as she fled to Mexico to avoid court-ordered chemotherapy. (The parents had been treating the boy with herbal supplements and ionized water. The son is not only in medical danger, but let’s hope he hasn’t inherited his parents delusional tendencies.)

MSNBC, “Judge rules family can’t refuse chemo for boy,” May 19, 2009

WRONG THING TO SAY

“It would open up a whole can of worms,” said Jim Boon, executive director of the alumni association of the University of Texas, explaining why people are not allowed to throw the ashes of loved ones, even alums, off a bridge on the Austin campus. (We think he got his metaphors mixed up.)

Chronicle of Higher Education, “Granny’s Ashes Not Welcome Here,” May 29, 2009

Did Speaker Nancy Pelosi accuse the CIA of “lying” to Congress? Here’s what happened: Reports from 2002 show the speaker and other members of Congress had been specifically informed of the CIA’s plans to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” or waterboarding. But at a press conference, the speaker insisted she had not been briefed on the topic. She was asked, “You’re accusing the CIA of lying to you in September of 2002?” and she responded, “Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States, misleading the Congress of the United States.”  By saying “yes,” she confirms the accusation of “lying.” (The extraordinary accusation generated a firestorm in Washington. CIA Director Leon Panetta, a former member of Congress and a Democrat, wrote to CIA employees, “It is not our policy to mislead Congress,” thereby repeating the word “mislead.” Panetta later commented that CIA records show “CIA officers briefed truthfully,” and he added, “The political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.” Our prediction: this is serious enough that the Speaker will have to apologize or prove her allegation.)

MSNBC, “Pelosi draws CIA response GOP criticism,” May 15, 2009

“Our company never knowingly shipped pistachios potentially contaminated with salmonella,” said Mia Cohen, COO for Setton International Foods, Inc., parent company of California-based Terra Bella, a company accused by the FDA of shipping nuts after tests indicated the presence of salmonella. (The company apparently has decided to come out swinging to counter the FDA’s allegations, but this is exactly the wrong quote. First of all, “knowingly” seems to confirm that they might have, and of course, repeating the negative, “potentially contaminated with salmonella,” only repeats the bad words. They should have said, if true, “We remain committed to the highest standards of quality.”)

The Packer, “Setton Pistachio Disputes Salmonella Allegations,” May 29, 2009

NEW MEDIA EXAMPLES

“I’m going to use YouTube,” James Schiro, CEO of Zurich Financial Services, told his communication people when the company cancelled an annual meeting for 400 employees. “Look, we’re going to cancel that for cost reasons, but we’re not going to cancel communication with people.” (This seems like one very savvy CEO. He also noted, “I hate PowerPoint. People can submit their presentations and we can read them.”)

The New York Times, “The C.E.O. Now Playing on YouTube,” May 10, 2009

“Launch was awesome,” tweeted astronaut Mike Massimino as the space shuttle Atlantis took off for a mission to repair the Hubble telescope. Massimino started tweeting during preparation, things like,”The adventure of a lifetime has begun!” (This is a great example of a good use of Twitter. We think Twitter is useful IF (1) it’s a defined time period, (2) if it reinforces the business or strategic purpose and (3) you know your audience. This example meets all three criteria. Awesome indeed!)

MSNBC, “Tweet to Earth: ‘Launch was awesome: One small tweet for a man, one cool leap for communications,” May 13, 2009

Members of the new InBev management team were caught on tape, partying and hugging and toasting each other at a “meeting” on a company-owned compound on the Lake of the Ozark’s and using the company sports yacht to discuss business issues including layoffs and cost-cutting. The video was taken by St. Louis reporters and was then reported on. (On one hand, this is very unfair. Anheuser-Busch, now InBev, owns the yacht and we’re in favor of meetings, retreats, lavish parties and junkets – because the hospitality and travel industries employ so many people, many of whom are minimum wage workers. Earlier this year, when Congress got on its high horse over meetings in hotels and resorts, all they managed to do was scare business off and put thousands of people out of work since there were no beds to make or cars to park. But it is a reminder that perception is reality. In this day of mobile technology, if there’s something potentially embarrassing, someone will capture it on tape and share it with the media.  We think that although Anheuser-Busch had one of the savviest and most respected public relations departments in the country, apparently they weren’t consulted before the event or allowed to manage the story when it broke.)

KSDK.com, “Caught on tape: Anheuser-Busch execs party, then cut more jobs: see the video,” May 20, 2009

MISQUOTES

“Being misquoted” is the No. 1 complaint executives have about dealing with the media, but being misquoted, or quoted out of context, has become an accepted sport. As a conservative Republican, I offer a personal word of warning to people who are plucking two or three of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s comments and representing her as a bigoted liberal. The most often quoted comment, from a 2002 lecture, is “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”  While that raises my eyebrows a little, I note that the speech was about how her background influences her decisions as a jurist. And any phrase lifted from a long speech shouldn’t be held up as the “headline” of what the speaker said. We haven’t heard from Judge Sotomayor in confirmation hearings. My own reading is that the American public is tired of the automatic pistol-whipping mentality. What’s going on here is that some conservative groups see a potential fundraising opportunity that’s too good to waste. I want to remind them that we reap what we sow. If we ever want to get past what the Judge Robert Bork hearings started, we need to treat nominees respectfully and quote them accurately.    


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