Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for November 2017


  • Bimbo
  • November 1, 2017
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image d

Lots of material this month. We have BIMBOs from Attorney General Sessions, a doctor working on chronic brain disease, fired coach Rick Pitino, two young entrepreneurs with a great idea but undisciplined mouths, the Taliban’s spokesman and a grieving young man. Actresses Meryl Streep and Gretchen Mol, designer Donna Karan, Woody Allen and the president of NBC News all contributed this month in response the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Larry Flynt provided a BIMBO and a statistics example. A Georgia Republican state representative and a Democratic candidate for congress showed the Wrong Thing to Say. Other examples from Montana Rep. Gianforte (last in the news for body slamming a reporter), Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton, the president of the University of Florida, UK PM Theresa May, State Street Bank and – do we have to? – another dumb comment from Anthony Scaramucci. 

THE WINNING BIMBO

“This is not an age thing,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., about her call for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to step down. (Sanchez sent shock waves through the Democratic party and Washington leadership with her overt challenge to Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn. Sanchez added, “…there comes a time when you need to pass that torch.” It’s certainly “an age thing” coupled with the losing thing. Note the quote made the headline.)

The Wall Street Journal, “A Coup Against Pelosi: a fellow Californian says it’s ‘not an age thing,’” Oct. 5, 2017

THE RUNNERS-UP

“I don’t think he’s alienated anyone,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (This is a classic BIMBO. Sanders was asked by a reporter whether the president’s comments about other Republicans had “alienated” them. Along with the denial above, she said that if anybody had “alienated” people, it was congress. The comment, anchored with the denial, became the headline. As with so many of these exchanges, there’s a great quote that got buried. Sanders also said, “(Congress) promised and campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare …They have campaigned on tax reform, hopefully we see that happen. We are certainly committed to that and we think we’ll get there.” That should have been the quote and the headline.)

Politico, “White House on GOP senator attacks: Trump hasn’t ‘alienated anyone,’” Oct. 10, 2017

“I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. (Uh oh. Anyone want to bet that we’ll see this prediction come back to haunt them? The airline’s president also noted that with passenger baggage fees the airline is just “scratching the surface.” Both of these comments will infuriate the public and members of congress as well as attract the attention of regulators. Parker should have said he was pleased with the measures they were implementing to increase productivity and profitability, and it would have been the moment for a shout-out to employees.)

CNBC, “American Airlines CEO: ‘I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again,’” Sept. 28, 2017

“I’m not part of a façade,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Another classic BIMBO. During a congressional hearing, Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said, “My concern is that you were part of the Russian façade and went along with it.” Sessions replied with the denial, which became the headline. This is where our formula should come into play. Acknowledge the question by saying, “I disagree” or “on the contrary.” Go right to your headline with the operative word: “My independence and integrity are well known.” Reports noted also that the AG was “visibly uncomfortable.” Sessions has been around long enough to know that congressional hearings are theater. You must learn to perform – and look as if you like it.)

CNN, “Jeff Sessions on Russia interference: ‘I’m not part of a façade,’” Oct. 18, 2017

“Not everybody knew,” said actress Meryl Streep about the flood of allegations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment and extortion. (Right, Meryl. She went on and on. “I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And if everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it.” The great actress obviously was deaf, dumb and blind and ignoring all the explanations that have surfaced.)

CNN, “Meryl Streep speaks out on the ‘disgraceful’ Harvey Weinstein allegations,” Oct. 9, 2017

“It’s not ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’” said Dr. Harry Kerasidis, one of the pioneers of Pure Recovery, a new and controversial way to identify and potentially treat chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The degenerative brain disease is believed to affect scores of NFL players and, until now, could only be diagnosed after death. (The procedure begins by measuring electrical activity in the brain and then passes electrical currents through the brain, a sort of electroshock therapy, hence the “Cuckoo’s Nest” reference. In this instance, there were plenty of great quotes and one of them did become the headline.)

USA Today, “Clinic provides hope for athletes with brain injuries: “This is going to be huge,’” Oct. 3, 2017

“Nobody’s been arrested on my staff,” said fired Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino commenting on the University of Louisville’s decision following FBI allegations that Adidas paid the college’s recruits. Ten people were arrested, including assistant basketball coaches, but as the coach pointed out, none from his staff. He added, “I’ve been vindicated,” which became the headline.)

Louisville DieHards, “Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino: ‘I’ve already been vindicated,’” Oct. 19, 2017

“I did not exchange sexual favors with Harvey Weinstein,” wrote actress Gretchen Mol in a heartfelt column rebutting reports that she cited as examples of how rumors get repeated and then become described as “well-known facts.” (This is an interesting example the media should take seriously. Mol described allegations that appeared in gossip columns and then migrated to mainstream media. How do you say something isn’t true - without repeating it and keeping the story alive? In her case, Mol had the chance to assert her good character and innocence within the context of the scores of sensational and detailed allegations.)

The Hollywood Reporter, “Gretchen Mol Breaks Silence on Harvey Weinstein and Misogynistic Rumors,” Oct. 10, 2017

“We’re not selling donuts,” said Ramon Mendez, founder of DriveAds, a company that puts advertising on the sides of box trucks and uses GPS and other technology to measure how many views the truck gets. (Great idea and kudos to this Dallas-based company, but boy do they need media training. The young founders were profane and arrogant in this profile. The whole quote was, “We’re not here for (expletive) and giggles. This is a B2B play. We’re not selling donuts. Our cheapest product is $2,000.” They should have used the quote to explain that this is a great, cost-effective way for companies to expand visibility and differentiate themselves.)

Dallas Business Journal, “We’re not selling donuts. Our cheapest product is $2,000 - Dallas startup thinks it has $120M idea,” Oct. 12, 2017

“No one has intentionally killed the child or carried out other abuse on them,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid about the comments of former captive Joshua Boyle, who was released after being held in captivity for five years. (Guess we must have different definitions of “abuse.” The description of Boyle’s ordeal is the very nightmare of “abuse.” Note that the word “intentionally” is the giveaway.)

The New York Times, “Taliban Deny Fighters Raped American Hostage and Killed Baby,” Oct. 15, 2017

“I am not some nut ball,” said Robert Kuefler when it was discovered that he was living with the decomposing bodies of his mother and twin brother because he did not want to report their deaths to the authorities. (You’ve got to feel sorry for this poor man. Disability and Social Security checks were deposited into the mother’s and brother’s bank accounts, but Kuefler didn’t use the funds. He explained he was traumatized by their deaths.)

Fox News, “Minnesota man lived with bodies of mom, brother for year,” Oct. 9, 2017

WRONG THING TO SAY (AND MORE)

A BIMBO and an example of statistics, “I do not expect Trump’s billionaire cronies to rat him out,” said Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt announcing a $10 million bounty for anyone who will come forward with information leading to impeachment of the president. ($10 million certainly gets attention, but this is an unusually self-aware publicity stunt because Flynt added that this “will strike many as a sour-grapes plot by Democrats to overturn a legitimate election.” Right from the horse’s mouth.)

The Washington Times, “Hustler’s Flynt runs ad offering $10 million for ‘smoking gun’ leading to Trump impeachment,” Oct. 14, 2017

Responding to the tsunami of allegations about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, director Woody Allen warned against a “witch hunt” mentality. This showed the power of a phrase – “witch hunt” – plus the importance of the messenger, as Allen himself has been accused by his stepchildren of child sexual abuse. There’s another clue about how widespread knowledge was of Weinstein’s behavior: Allen said, “No one ever came to me and told me horror stories with any real seriousness.” Translation: I’ve heard this for years. Usually we try to advise what someone should have said. In this case, the recommendation is nothing. Stay silent. Allen put his foot in his mouth by trying to weigh in on the debate.)

The New York Times, “Woody Allen Warns of ‘Witch Hunt’ Over Weinstein, Then Tries to Clarify,” Oct. 15, 2017

“I don’t want to say the quarantine word – but I guess I just said it,” said state Rep. Betty Price, R-Ga., during a hearing about the spread of HIV. (Whoops! This is a case study of BIMBOs, the power of a bad word and the wrong thing to say. She went on to say, “It’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are…carriers with the potential to spread. Whereas in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they’re not posing a risk.” Price, the wife of former Trump health secretary Tom Price, is a physician herself. She apparently skipped empathy, which is a shame because her point was “we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they’re not in treatment.” That should have been the message as well as the headline. People would’ve heard it quite differently from “quarantine” and the rest of her quote.)

STAT News, “Georgia lawmaker, wife of Tom Price, suggests people with HIV could be quarantined,” Oct. 20, 2017

“A child,” was how Democratic congressional candidate Steve Krieg described his opponent, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., adding that it was fair to consider him “a sexist.” Krieg had already drawn criticism for posting on Facebook, “I intend to kick your stingy, money-grubbing, sniveling coward of a butt out of Congress. Don’t worry, sweetie, you’re a little girl. You can always run home to Mommy and Daddy.” (Stefanik was elected in 2014 and at 30 was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She was re-elected in 2016 and is running again. We’re proud to support women in political office and know age matters little compared to maturity level.)

Fox News, “Dem candidate calls female GOP rep a ‘child,’ says it’s fair to call him a ‘sexist,’” Oct. 6, 2017

The feud between Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs and the media in general continues. Reminder: last spring, Gianforte body slammed Jacobs who was pressing him on difficult issues. Not surprisingly, it created national news. Gianforte won re-election anyway, donated thousands of dollars to the Committee to Protect Journalists and wrote a letter of apology. The latest news is that representatives from the CPJ were scheduled to meet with Gianforte, but he left to vote. The CPJ delegation then met with staff and suggested that Gianforte could join the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press or other commissions. His chief of staff, Charles Robison, dismissed these ideas with, “Greg didn’t come here to join clubs.” In his report about the meeting, Jacobs wrote, “I had expected that he was sincere in his expressions of support for a free press. Instead, he is continuing to behave like the worst stereotype of a Washington politician.” Ouch. Robison’s comment was unnecessarily provoking, but Jacobs’ slam is guaranteed to prevent Gianforte from taking any kind of positive action, which is unfortunate. No matter what people think of the U.S. mainstream media’s political slant, journalists around the world face many challenges, including imprisonment and death. Americans should support them. Gianforte obviously needs communication training and advice. He also spoke at the Montana High Tech Jobs Summit, where one of the topics was the lack of diversity in the room. Gianforte, the keynote speaker, apologized for a photo of all-male employees at RightNow Technology (which he founded) saying, “We did hire women, but they knew better than to show up for the Christmas Party.” Excuse us? Maybe they won’t show up to vote next time.)

Committee to Protect Journalists, “CPJ meeting with Gianforte is disappointingly brief,” Oct. 12, 2017

Is this an overreaction? Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton took a question from Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue about how receiver Devin Funchess was running routes. He replied, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” and set off a blizzard of criticism culminating with yogurt maker Dannon Co. pulling its sponsorship. (Rodrigue tweeted, “I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.” She is correct; I would have liked Rodrigue to shoot back, “What’s funny is that your brain isn’t functioning, which may be why I’m asking about route running.” Newton’s agent didn’t help by saying, “Dannon did not drop Cam. He is still under contract. They did not terminate him.” Since Dannon announced it was breaking ties with Newton because of the remarks, we’re not sure what the real story is. But, the lawyer should have said, “Cam values his longstanding relationship with Dannon and hopes that his real nature is recognized. He will continue to carry Dannon’s message of yogurt health and deliciousness.” Note that the comment made it into the headline.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Dannon Ends Ad Deal with Panthers’ Cam Newton After Sexist Comment: Quarterback said it was ‘funny’ to be asked about ‘routes’ by a female reporter,” Oct. 5, 2017

A lot of big names got in trouble reacting to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Fashion legend Donna Karan observed, “How do we present ourselves as women? …Are we asking for it? By presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?” (You know what happened next. A storm of criticism descended upon Karan; celebrities demanded that Nordstrom stop carrying her products, and experts opined that she’s finished. “General consensus is she just broke her brand,” said Paula Rosenblum from Retail Systems Research. Again, who’s the audience? Nordstrom got it right, issuing a statement, “We’ve heard from some customers, and we certainly understand their concerns. We’ll continue to listen to their feedback.”)

The Washington Post, “’She just broke her brand’: Donna Karan’s defense of Weinstein is taking its toll,” Oct. 12, 2017

“The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us,” said NBC President of News Noah Oppenheim at a townhall meeting responding to questions about why NBC refused to air the year’s blockbuster story about Harvey Weinstein. It ran instead in The New Yorker. Oppenheim claimed, “We didn’t feel we had all the elements that we needed to air it.” The Washington Examiner noted that NBC moved heaven and earth to find someone to confirm that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called President Trump a “moron,” but it couldn’t accept the ten plus first person, on-the-record stories about Harvey Weinstein. Why? The Daily Beast did a nice examination of all the joint business deals between Weinstein and NBC divisions. Now, what should Oppenheim have said? What about, “We should have been more aggressive and lived up to our own investigative standards. We made a mistake.”)

Washington Examiner, “NBC’s credibility collapse,” Oct. 14, 2017

“I don’t stand behind racist Richard Spencer,” tweeted University of Florida president Kent Fuchs. (The university had agreed to allow self-described white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on campus, and students accused Fuchs of enabling racism. The second half of Fuch’s tweet was the real message, “I stand with those who reject and condemn Spencer’s vile and despicable message.” Now, if the first half had only said, “This is a First Amendment, free speech issue and the university is the place to hear all voices, including those we find unpleasant.”)

Twitter, Oct. 19, 2017

Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, had a bad day. She gave a speech that was supposed to be a commanding call to action to rally the fractious and demoralized Conservative Party. She was suffering from a severe cold and her voice went from raspy to barely there. In the middle of the speech, a prankster jumped up on the stage and handed her a form Britons get when they exit a job, thoroughly disrupting her demeanor. When it seemed things couldn’t get worse, the sign behind her, “Building a Country that Works for Everyone” lost the letter F in “for.” While everybody gets sick, this is a case study where a single speech can make or break a political career. (Take heart, PM. Bill Clinton was so bad in his speech to the Democratic convention in 1988, that experts wrote him off as someone who would never, ever come back.)

The New York Times, “Theresa May, Coughing and Caught by a Prankster, Endures a Speech to Forget,” Oct. 5, 2017

Another example of inviting attention with unintended results: State Street Corp. paid for the Fearless Girl statue erected on Wall Street last spring facing off with the iconic Wall Street Charging Bull statue. This month, the company agreed to pay $5 million to women and African-American employees who were paid less than their white, male counterparts. Understandingly, the news was embarrassing to State Street. State Street Global Advisors CMO Stephen Tisdalle tackled the topic head on during an industry conference and had a comment that we think struck the perfect tone: “What I would say to that is we had a foundation we could go back to to say why we did Fearless Girl, and no matter what anybody said, no matter what rocks were thrown, we could say, ‘You’re right, but this is the way we invest, this is the way the world needs to invest, this is a human moral value. How can you argue against it? We have to be doing better ourselves. She’s as much an inspiration to our organization as she is to the world.”

Adweek, “Financial Firm Behind ‘Fearless Girl’ Will Pay $5 Million for Allegedly Underpaying Women and Minorities,” Oct. 5, 2017

Is Anthony Scaramucci the latest example of someone who’s famous for being famous? That’s the only explanation for attention to Scaramucci’s announcement of a new media venture, with no journalists, no articles and no website. At the announcement party, he said that he “had no idea what the Scaramucci Post is.” Neither do we and we fervently hope the media will resist the temptation to fawn over his every twitch.)

The New York Times, “Anthony Scaramucci Announces Mystery Media Venture,” Oct. 3, 2017



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