Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for June 2016


  • Bimbo
  • June 8, 2016
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image c

What a month! 2016 has offered too many campaign BIMBOs to count and this month’s section is all about the Donald. We’ve got more BIMBO comments from a former Lyft driver in Austin, an infantry recruit and a biologist creating chimeras—yes, really. More The Wrong Thing to Say from the Secretary of the VA and University of Edinburgh, and two athletes demonstrate the Power of Bad Words. Twitter examples of saying too much (yes, even in 140 characters!) and, in the case of Texas A&M, the damaging effects of indiscriminate tweeting. Remember wondering why you had to learn grammar rules in elementary school? Our last example shows why.

THE WINNER

“What I fear is that people, looking down their nose, will say the people that are supporting Donald Trump are a bunch of idiots. They’re not,” said Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. (Of course, the resounding word “idiots” made its way into the headline.)

CNN Politics, “Jeb Bush says Donald Trump’s supporters aren’t a bunch of idiots,” May 21, 2016

THE RUNNERS-UP

“Sugar is not addictive,” said Stefan Catsicas, Nestlé’s chief technology officer. (The line is in a long article explaining the growing attacks on sugar vilifying it like “alcohol and tobacco.” He added, not helpfully, “You get habituated to sugar which is not being addicted.” Nestlé should get its act together and realize that it needs to communicate its values and contributions to a wide variety of constituencies.)

Bloomberg Businessweek, “Nestlé Wants to Sell You Both Sugary Snacks and Diabetes Pills,” May 5, 2016

“I’m not a guy who’s going to be trying to bash people over the head with the Bible,” said Steph Curry, in an interview with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine. (Curry is a talented young man and athlete, and we greatly admire his ability and his values. Unfortunately, this line drowned out the otherwise very nice piece on how he shares his faith.)

Relevant, “Steph Curry: I’m Not Going to ‘Bash People Over the Head with the Bible,’” May 18, 2016

“There’s nothing hidden here,” said Peter Brumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. (The UCS is up to its disingenuous eyebrows in the attack against ExxonMobil, who have charged the company with covering up science proving the existence of global warming, engaging in conspiracy, collusion and a host of other illegal activities. The same anti-Exxon activists also orchestrated the campaign against tobacco, so we know what to expect. Brunhoff is correct; their intentions are clear.)

The New York Times, “Public Campaign Against Exxon Has Roots in a 2012 Meeting,” May 23, 2016

“I would never misrepresent someone’s point of view,” said Stephanie Soechtig, director of a documentary, “Under the Gun.” (The controversy involved a panel of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Katie Couric asked, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” The question was followed by nine seconds of silence, giving the clear impression that they had no response to the question. Although in reality, the activists said they had answered the question and instead of showing their answers, the documentary was edited to show them sitting in silence—a piece of footage from earlier. The worst part is that Soechtig probably thinks she was fair, she has such a skewed perspective.)   

The Wrap, “Katie Couric Regrets ‘Poor Decision’ to Insert Pause in Gun Documentary Interview,” May 26, 2016

“Dear Austin, I am not a rapist,” wrote a Lyft driver opposing Prop 1, a proposition to overturn a host of regulations and restrictions on Uber and Lyft drivers. (The two ridesharing companies threatened to deactivate the platforms if Prop 1 didn’t pass. It failed and they followed through. This was a moving piece, and it’s an example of what Uber and Lyft should have been encouraging all along. They allowed Austinites aligned with the self-protecting taxi industry to depict it as a way to punish big corporations. Note the line became the headline.)

Medium, “‘Dear Austin, I am not a rapist,’ – Every Lyft Driver,” May 6, 2016

“We’re not trying to make a chimera just because we want to see some kind of monstrous creature,” said Dr. Pablo Ross, a biologist at the University of California, Davis. (A chimera is an embryo that is part human and part animal. The goal is to grow in animals that can then be transplanted into humans. Ross added, “I don’t consider that we’re playing god or even close to that.” Wow! Get ready for wild debates about the ethics of this. If people object to harvesting stem cells, this will kick that into overdrive.)

NPR, “In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Human,” May 18, 2016

“Amtrak’s not being rigid here or inflexible,” said D.J. Stadtler, COO for Amtrak. (There’s a fight between the passenger line and the freight trains. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is considering new regulations. This is an example of the wrong message. Amtrak’s quote should have been about the importance of schedules to maintain their growing ridership.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Amtrak Trains Fight to Go First,” May 22, 2016

“I do not want special treatment,” said Shelby Sparkman, one of the first two female Army infantry recruits. (Of course she wants special treatment! While gender-based restrictions have been lifted on many positions, the only way to accommodate women in combat will be to provide, well, accommodations. Speaking of “special treatment,” it may have already begun, as her grandfather performed the swearing in ceremony...)

The Dallas Morning News, “2 North Texas teens become the state’s first females to enlist as Army infantry recruits,” May 18, 2018

POWER OF A SINGLE WORD

Myles Jack, a UCLA linebacker, was supposed to be a first round draft pick. A New York Post article quoted him saying that “Down the line, possibly I could have microfracture surgery – potentially. Who knows what will happen?” The word “microfracture” got repeated and turned into a fact assumed to be imminent, affecting his draft prospects.

New York Post, “NFL Draft prospect’s grim confession could cost him millions,” April 27, 2016

U.S. women’s soccer team goalie Hope Solo said she was “begrudgingly” going to the Olympics in Rio. (She initially indicated concern about the Zika virus. The word “begrudgingly” became the headline. It’s also the wrong word because it crowded out the quote, “I’m always a competitor first. I want to set a new standard. I want to break records.”)

NBC Sports, “Hope Solo Says She’s ‘Begrudgingly’ Going To Rio Olympics, [VIDEO],” May 11, 2016

WRONG THING TO SAY

Testifying before Congress, the VA Secretary tried to rationalize the long wait-times by saying “Disney doesn’t measure wait-times, so why should VA?” (This trivialized the imposition of the waiting times, which can be weeks or months. As we frequently point out, the wrong quote crowded out what he should have said about the VA’s commitment to provide the quality of care veterans deserve. And of course, it’s the headline.)

Fox News Politics, “VA Secretary: Disney doesn’t measure wait times, so why should VA?” May 23, 2016

The University of Edinburgh posted instructions for female students about what to wear to graduation: “Girls, this is your time to invest in some sophisticated glamour. Think French chic meets New York business and you’ll get it right. A little black dress from a brand like Carven or Iro would be spot on and for killer accessories, Gianvito Rossi heels and a clutch with personality to store your lippy and smartphone. Remember, image is everything!” Come on! (Predictably, a storm of criticism swept over the school. It was in poor taste and probably better left to advice-givers outside the administration.)

The Telegraph, “University of Edinburgh apologises after telling female students ‘image is everything’ on graduation,” May 23, 2016

“There is no reason to panic,” wrote liberal columnist Jeet Heer in the New Republic about Hillary Clinton’s campaign. (This is an example of how denials of negatives get repeated. Heer’s comment was quoted by The Wall Street Journal and inspired its headline.)

The Wall Street Journal, “The Sanders Panic,” May 20, 2016

CAMPAIGN

“We can’t fake it,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. (A classic BIMBO comment: the remark came as a highly-touted meeting between the Speaker and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. As so frequently happens, Ryan also had a positive message, “We have to actually unify,” but the denial undercut the positive message.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Paul Ryan Plans to Talk With Donald Trump on How to Unify GOP,” May 10, 2016

TRUMP

“He’s not Hitler,” said Melania Trump about her husband. (Classic BIMBO trap. Trump was responding to comedian Louis C.K., who originally raised the topic. By repeating and denying the charge, Trump gave the story legs. As so frequently happens, the BIMBO also crowded out the other comments, including the preferred quote, “He wants to bring people together and bring jobs back.” And the sensational word, “Hitler,” became the headline and the soundbite of the day.)

Washington Examiner, “Melania Trump: My husband is ‘not Hitler,’” May 17, 2016

“He’s not a groper,” said Ivanka Trump about her father following a front page New York Times article alleging that Donald Trump mistreats women. (It’s not clear whether the reporter offered up the word, “groper,” or whether Ivanka Trump volunteered the word. Another example of how a negative word migrates to the headline. In the candidate’s case, it also gets reprinted countless times.)

USA Today, “Ivanka Trump on her father: ‘He’s not a groper,’” May 18, 2016

“The Never Trump Movement is Neither Anti-American Nor Hypocritical,” was the headline responding to Dallas radio talk show host Grant Stinchfield accusing the “never Trump” movement is – you guessed it – “anti-American and hypocritical.” (Another example of how comments like this replicate themselves. Another article insisted, “#NeverTrump is not a fad.”)

RedState, “The Never Trump Movement is Neither Anti-American Nor Hypocritical,”   May 17, 2016

“I’m not running for president to make things unstable for the country,” said Trump, characterizing what his initial days as president will tackle. (This wasn’t a disastrous quote; it’s just another example of the risk of saying whatever jumps into your mind. There are a limited number of quotes reporters will choose for each story. Pick yours carefully.)

The New York Times, “‘President Trump?’ Here’s How He Says It Would Look,” May 4, 2016

“Did you see her walk? Runway walk? My God is that good,” said Chris Matthews, gushing over Melania Trump. (The comment was caught on an open microphone during the network’s coverage of the Indiana primary. Ironic that the media has criticized Donald Trump’s verbiage about women while a major anchor put his foot in his mouth in just the same way re: the candidate’s wife.)

CNN Money, “Chris Matthews’ Melania Trump remarks caught on hot mic,” May 5, 2016

“I think a lot of liberals would view things that I do as foolish and perhaps stupid,” said New York City Councilman Joseph Borelli, commenting on how his fellow council members viewed his support of Donald Trump. (One more time: pick your quotes carefully and don’t compete with yourself.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump Supporter Wages Lonely Fight on Liberal New York City Council,” May 13, 20116

“I’m not stupid,” said candidate Trump for about the hundredth time. (This time, Trump made the comment in an interview where he sniped at British politicians, particularly Sadig Khan, the new mayor of London, who is Muslim. He needs to stop competing with his other messages.)

CNN Politics, “Donald Trump: London mayor made ‘very rude statements’ about me,” May 16, 2016

TWITTER EXAMPLES

“I’m not going to become a lobbyist and I’m not going to run for governor in 2018,” tweeted Marco Rubio. (Of course, the more he says he’s not running for governor, the more we think he is – until we see him actually doing something else with a long term view. Rubio seems to be unleashing his inner Donald Trump with a flood of tweets on topics including airline seats and whether you can pick up a muffin you dropped on the floor at an airport, musing, “Does the two second rule apply?” Lesson here: Twitter is easy to tap out, harder to make it effective.)

Mashable, “Marco Rubio unleashes tweetstorm directed at comments about him,” May 17, 2016,

The CIA tweeted about the fifth anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, garnering criticism from social media. (Lessons here: there will always be people to criticize, but social media can propel attention from the traditional media. The criticism over the tweet gave the CIA the chance to say, “The takedown of bin Laden stands as one of the great intelligence successes of all time. History has been a key element of CIA’s social media efforts. On the 5th anniversary, it is appropriate to remember the day and honor all those who had a hand in this achievement.” We agree.)

NBC News, “CIA Criticized for Live-Tweeting Osama Bin Laden Raid,” May 2, 2016

Texas A&M University Football Coach Aaron Moorehead tweeted, “I feel sorry for ppl who never understand loyalty. I can’t really even vibe with u. At the end of the day trust is ? & everything else is BS.” Two players withdrew their commitments. Another reminder to think before you Tweet.  

Sports Illustrated, “Texas A&M loses two recruits in one night after coach tweet,” May 5, 2016

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Donald Trump sniped back and forth at each other over Twitter. Just another example of how sensational words – goofy, racist, xenophobic – will get repeated, endlessly. We agree with Republican consultant Ryan Williams, who commented that Trump should “Stop chasing every shiny object” and focus on the White House.

The New York Times, “Elizabeth Warren Emerges to Attack Donald Trump on Twitter,” May 9, 2016

GRAMMAR

An interesting example and reminder to check your grammar: The Texas Republican party platform contained this language: “Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental and unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders and shared by the majority of Texans.” Texas Monthly pointed out that the sentence actually says, “Homosexuality has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders and shared by the majority of Texans,” because the verb “has” is singular so it governs “behavior” instead of “truths.” It should have been “have.”

NPR, “How The Wrong Verb Meant The Texas GOP Called Most Texans Gay,” May 19, 2016



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