Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for March 2009


  • Bimbo
  • March 1, 2009
  • by Spaeth Communications

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THE WINNING BIMBO

“I didn’t think they were steroids,” Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez told several hundred reporters at a press conference after Sports Illustrated published results from a “supposedly” anonymous drug test in 2003. (Rodriguez also said his cousin shot him up “dozens of times,” with ‘boli’ and that he “knew we weren’t taking Tic Tacs.”  Viewers and fans were divided about whether Rodriguez actually knew. His claim “that it was part of being young and stupid,” doesn’t ring true to us. He was also experienced and very rich, and “dozens of times” shows a clear pattern. His additional claims, “And to be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using,” seems disingenuous because he apparently showed zero interest in finding out. Top athletes don’t indiscriminately put unknown substances into their bodies. See also under “apologies.”)

Multiple press reports: USAToday, “A-Rod details steroid use,” Feb. 18, 2009

The Dallas Morning News, “Report: A-Rod had positive steroid test while a Ranger,” Feb. 10, 2009

THE RUNNERS-UP

“I never hid anything,” said Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel, blamed for a $6.4 billion loss and now contesting the claim that Societe Generale didn’t know what he was doing. Defending himself, Kerviel added he was, “not a crook and certainly not a terrorist.”  (A strange choice of words, but most notably, the negatives competed with his main point, which was to explain the trading rules and back up his contention that the company knew the risks he was taking.)

Bloomberg, “Kerviel Says SocGen Superiors Encouraged his Trading Risks,” Feb. 9, 2009

Saying her daughter “…is not evil,” Nadya Suleman’s mother, Angela, struggled to explain what motivated her daughter to have eight embryos implanted after previously giving birth to six children. (Nadya’s decision and that of the physician who implanted the embryos have caused national and international outcry. She may not be “evil” but words like selfish, clueless and irresponsible come to mind.)

The Dallas Morning News, “’Obsession’ with kids resulted in 8 more,” Feb. 1, 2009

“I have nothing to hide,” said Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., after again making the news with revelations that he had several conversations with then-Governor Blagojevich’s brother about fundraising which he failed to disclose during the debate about whether to seat him in the Senate. (Burris clearly was concealing the discussions. His contention that he was questioned about potentially improper contacts, but that the questions “moved on to other things,” not allowing him to fully answer, is laughable. Worse, he’s a lawyer and the former attorney general of the state. Surely he understood the legal implications of leaving an incorrect impression. Can this hole get any deeper?)

MSNBC, “Burris: ‘I have nothing to hide,’” Feb. 19, 2009

“I don’t think it’s a fetish,” said the Dallas police Sergeant who was investigating yet another robbery of hundreds of pairs of panties from a Victoria’s Secret store which had been robbed twice before. (Speculation was that the thieves were fencing the hot panties.)

The Dallas Morning News, “A Victoria’s Secret in Dallas has been hit once again by panty thieves,” Feb. 5, 2009

Despite the violence, including murderers targeting law enforcement officers, Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs announced at a press conference that Mexico is not “a failed state.”  Patricia Expinosa Cantellano claimed that the violence was part of a publicity strategy by the drug cartels “to intimidate the public, to give the impression there is a major problem.” (Well, it’s certainly working. The secretary was doing her best to put a spin on the problem, but she would have been better off citing areas where the Federal Government has made documentable progress or laying out plans for the future.)

National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, “Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs rejects the idea that Mexico is a ‘failed state,’” Feb. 16, 2009

“Governor Sanford is not tossing out ‘red meat’ to an elitist bunch of government-haters, as Associate Editor Cindy Scoppe suggested in a recent column,” wrote Ashley Landess, in a paper published by the South Carolina Policy Council. (Gov. Sanford is among those governors debating whether accepting federal stimulus money is a good idea since it comes with many strings and creates programs which will have to be sustained in the future. This is a classic example of what happens when negative words, penned first by a member of the press, are repeated. It’s also an example about how to rebut negative charges without repeating them. Ms. Landess goes on to write that the governor wants to “wean the state of government dependence,” and points out convincingly that federal money has created perverse incentives to develop programs to attract funding rather than develop prosperity. However, the words “red meat” and “elitist government haters” were what got passed around the Internet.)

South Carolina Policy Council website, “Free Market is the Only Path to Prosperity,” Jan. 4, 2009

“This isn’t payback,” said Rep. John Conyers, D-N.Y., about the plan he and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have to convene an investigation into whether the Bush Administration’s tactics in the war on terror violated the law. (Of course it’s payback for the Clinton impeachment hearings. President Obama deserves applause for his comment, “My general orientation is to say, let’s get it right moving forward.” Notice that the quote gets repeated in later stories.)

USAToday, “Poll: Bush Methods deserve inquiries,” Feb. 12, 2008

“We are not trying to turn this classic attraction into a marketing pitch for Disney plush toys,” said Marty Sklar, executive vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, in response to a furor over redoing the beloved ride, “It’s A Small World,” into one which includes Aladdin, Nemo, Ariel and two dozen other characters from Disney cartoons. (Disney claims they are trying to “freshen” the “small world” ride which was opened at the 1964 World’s Fair to benefit the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, but there are only a few non-Disney characters or images included. Mr. Sklar’s explanation was going fine until the BIMBO comment.)

Fox News, “Disney’s Iconic ‘Small World’ Ride Makeover Finds Nemo,” Feb. 5, 2009

Attempting to defend his hospital’s quality standards in the operating room, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Cameron Brown was making a compelling case, saying “It’s a safe environment and all the doctors are outstanding,” but he felt compelled to lapse into BIMBO negatives, and added, “I would not be concerned about sponges, lighting or the room or temperature.”  (Sponges? What about sponges?)

The News-Times, “Neurosurgeon blasts New Milford hospital; leaders dismiss allegations as ‘ridiculous,’” Jan. 31, 2009

“People have to not look on this as welfare to Hollywood,” said Dallas Film Commission Director Janis Burklund about the effort to increase the cash incentive to film and produce television shows in Texas.  (Ms. Burklund was making a compelling argument about the return on investment and Texas’ need to be competitive with other states which are raising their incentives. However, the BIMBO comment was lifted out as the “quote of the day” at the beginning of the publication.)

The Dallas Business Journal, “Film Industry seeks “take 2” on incentives,” Jan. 16, 2009

“I’m Not Fat!” said Jessica Simpson, which appeared on the cover of a magazine. (She’s gorgeous with Marilyn Monroe curves. This is a classic negative.)

InTouch Weekly Magazine, “I’m not Fat,” Feb. 16, 2009

BAD WORDS… Shows the impact of a single word

“A nation of cowards,” when it comes to conversations on race was what Attorney General Eric Holder called America. (This is an example of choosing the wrong word. As part of remarks to employees of the Department of Justice, Holder also said that race “is an issue we have never been at ease with,” and urged those listening to “feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.” He may have a point, but the choice of the word “coward” crowded out what he may have been trying to say. Even the deputy director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity deemed it “…not the most politic way of saying it. I’m certain there are people listening who will hear him and say, ‘That’s obnoxious.’”)

USAToday, “America is ‘nation of cowards’ on racial matters, Holder says,” Feb. 19, 2009

Wells Fargo took out a full page ad in The New York Times to attack the media for creating the impression that events planned for venues like Las Vegas were a “junket, a boondoggle, a waste or that it’s for highly paid executives.”  (This is one more example of introducing negative words into the discussion. Worse, spending $100k on an ad to claim you aren’t wasting money when you’re accepting taxpayer funds is, at best, a mixed message. The ad noted that the events were to recognize employees for customer service. A spokesperson attempted to position the ad as “publicly acknowledging their accomplishments.”  Wrong choice of words in that case.)

MSNBC.com, “Wells Fargo takes out ad explaining Vegas trip,” Feb. 9, 2009

Calling the possibility that Ireland might default on its bonds “remote,”  Moody’s Investor Services actually increased bondholder’s nervousness. (Another example of the speaker, Moody’s Investors Services, saying something more nuanced and balanced, “Ireland remains a creditworthy issuer,” but having it crowded out by the word “remote.” This falls into our teaching about statistics, and why it’s important to understand how the audience hears the number as opposed to what the number means to the speaker. In this case, listeners heard “remote” as confirming the possibility of default.)

Bloomberg, “Irish Bond Default ‘Remote’ Amid Slump, Moody’s Says,” Feb. 17, 2009

“A radioactive leak was a possibility. Worse, we could have lost the crew and warheads,” said a Navy source about the collision of a British and a French submarine in the Atlantic, adding “It’s very unlikely there would have been a nuclear explosion.” (Terrible choice of words. All the listener hears is “radioactive leak” and “nuclear explosion.” The speaker should have contented himself with saying that an urgent inquiry was planned, that this was a serious breach and both countries intended to identify what procedures would prevent it from happening in the future.)

The Sun, “Unthinkable,” Feb. 16, 2009

Winning the West Side Story “Officer Krupke Award” is former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who told David Letterman he was just “misunderstood.” (For those who’ve forgotten the lyrics, the Jets sing to Officer Krupke that they’re not juvenile delinquents, they’re just ‘misunderstood.’)

MSN news, “Blagojevich tells Letterman he’s misunderstood,” Feb. 4, 2009

Aeroflot representatives tried to get the passengers on a Moscow to New York route to calm down and back off a demand to remove a pilot who appeared drunk, saying it was “not such a big deal” if the pilot was drunk because the aircraft practically flew itself. (As you can imagine, this was not a winning argument, and the passengers revolted, forcing Aeroflot to replace all four pilots. There was a television personality and a reporter from the Moscow Times on the flight as well.)

Times Online, “Passengers stop flight after ‘drunk’ pilot sparks panic,” Feb. 3, 2009

“There have been others propagating the myth of the $4 latte and that’s not true,” said Starbucks’ executive vice president of marketing. (Michelle Glass was trying to promote Starbucks’ new discounted prices, its loyalty card introduced last year, and to convince consumers that it’s still affordable. McDonalds, which has become a competitor in coffee sales, has a billboard in Seattle, Starbucks’ home base, saying “Four bucks is dumb.” But Ms. Glass fell into the trap of repeating the negative. She added, “We have to correct the misperceptions that are out there,” but she only illustrated the challenge of amplifying them by repetition. She was commenting on research showing that customers thought Starbucks was more expensive than it actually is, so she should have said, “We want customers who know we’re affordable to tell their friends that the average price of one of our beverages is under $3.” Again, the lesson here is – don’t compete with your own message.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Starbucks Plays Common Joe,” Feb. 9, 2009

“We’re all hookers in one way or another,” said Kelly Cutrone, founder of a PR firm that was fired by a New York designer after Ashley Dupré, the call girl who brought down former N.Y. Governor Eliot Spitzer was placed in a front row seat at the designer’s fashion show. (Apparently, Cutrone invited Ms. Dupré to attract publicity. She got it, but we question whether this is really the kind of ‘PR’ anyone wants.)

Fox News, “Ashley Dupre Crashes Fashion Week, Paris Hilton is a Fraud,” Feb. 17. 2009

“I was told to say ‘no comment,’” said Al Franken’s accountant, blamed by the comedian and Senate hopeful for failing to report earnings and pay taxes in California and failing to provide worker’s compensation insurance for his New York employees. Franken has admitted owing more then $50,000 in back taxes. (Franken has claimed he has overpaid taxes in two states but has not permitted his accountant to confirm that. A reminder that ‘no comment’ is heard by the listener as an admission of guilt or confirmation of the question. In this case, it lends credibility to the accusation that Franken simply didn’t want to pay what he owed.)

Newsmax.com, “Al Franken Admits $50,000 Tax Debt,” Feb. 6, 2009

“Bring it on,” said Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus attorney, John Simpson, as a trial began where PETA charged that the circus was inherently cruel to elephants. (Mr. Simpson should have learned from President Bush’s unfortunate use of the same phrase discussing how America would deal with terrorists. The lawyer had the better argument, not to mention the love of countless generations of circus goers, but the “bring it on” line appears combative.)

MSNBC.com, “Activists, circum square off over elephants,” Feb. 4, 2009

“You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain’t my president, he might be yours, he ain’t my president. You know that woman he had singing for him, singing my song-- she’s gonna get her a-- whipped. The great Beyoncé…But I can’t stand Beyoncé. She had no business up there, singing up there on big ol’ president day…singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.” The speaker was singer Etta James who was obviously annoyed that Beyoncé had been asked to sing “At Last” at the first dance of the inauguration ball. (This would have been the moment to be gracious.)

MSN Entertainment, “Etta James Says, “I Can’t Stand Beyoncé,’” Feb. 4, 2009

“It’s time for somebody in baseball to say to Jose Canseco, ‘We’re sorry you got treated the way you did,” said the ball player’s attorney, Dennis Holahan, making the point that the criticism that Canseco took for writing about his own steroid use in his 2008 book, “Vindicated,” which implicated Alex Rodriguez, and saying that he now needs an apology. A-Rod emphatically denied the allegation, a denial which has proved false when Sports Illustrated published an article reporting on 2003 drug tests. (Canseco was vilified and probably deserves to have the truth of his allegations acknowledged but we think he’ll wait a long time for an apology.)

Fox Sports.com, “Scorned Canseco wants apology from baseball,” Feb. 18, 2009

A FEW LESSONS LEARNED

President Obama was serenaded during his inauguration by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and other great musicians, but the extreme cold resulted in the decision to play the recorded piece and do the musical equivalent of lip-synching. Alas, word of the fakery got out. “No one’s trying to fool anybody. This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli,” said Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, adding, “It’s not something we would announce, but it’s not something we would try to hide.” (But they should have announced it and the reason for it because it was destined to become public, and of course they were trying to hide it. The speaker made it worse by bringing up pop singer duo Milli Vanilli, who was revealed to be a fake on their albums and lip-synched their way through concerts.)

The New York Times, “The Frigid Fingers were Live, but the Music Wasn’t,” Jan. 23, 2009

PETA protested the Westminster Dog show by comparing participants to the KKK. (Another over-the-top fiasco from PETA. First, their target is again questionable. Anyone watching Westminster knows how much owners and handlers love the dogs and how the dogs love participating, but passersby got the impression that PETA was the KKK. “I’m going to buy more fur,” screamed one person.)

Foxsports.com, “PETA uses KKK imagery at dog show protest,” Feb. 17, 2009

Reminder about the mischief technology can cause. After The Huffington Post reported that Fox News anchor John Gibson compared Attorney General Eric Holder “to a monkey with a bright blue scrotum,” it turned out that the video had been doctored. The Huffington Post then put up a piece about the report being inaccurate.

The Huffington Post, “John Gibson Did Not Compare Eric Holder To Monkey with Bright Blue Scrotum,” Feb. 19, 2009

The staff of The Auburn Plainsman hasn’t gotten the word that a recession is going on. They attacked their colleagues who sell ads for the paper saying they have “lost confidence” and want new management. (Perhaps they should try the LA Times? Or The New York Times?)

The Auburn Plainsman, “The Plainsman is dying, and we thought you should know,” Feb. 12, 2009

APOLOGIES OF THE MONTH

Swimmer Michael Phelps was caught on a cell phone camera with a bong. It cost him lucrative endorsements, but he did apologize. The only problem is that it sounded very much as if the PR and legal people had written it for him: “I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment.” Phelps also tried to blame his age, saying, “I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and public it will not happen again.”

People Magazine, “Michael Phelps Apologizes for Pot Pic,” Feb. 2, 2009

“I did take a banned substance, and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful,” said Alex Rodriguez at an emotional press conference where he admitted taking illegal substances from 2001 through 2003 despite repeated and vehement denials. (We’ve heard from readers who think we’re being too harsh on A-Rod, but we still think he’s only really sorry he got caught. It turns out his cousin injected him over 30 times and he never was curious about what it was?)

The New York Times, “Rodriguez Offers Apology, but is it the Whole Truth?” Feb. 10, 2009

AND THE SNAPPY QUOTE OF THE MONTH…

John Catsimatidis, the financier and self-described vulture or bottom feeder, financially speaking, who’s buying assets very cheaply – and can because he’s sitting on a pile of cash, said, “Some people have sex appeal. I have checks appeal.”

Business Week, “Sharks on Attack After One Bad Bet,” Feb. 9, 2009



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