Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for January 2014

  • Bimbo
  • January 1, 2014
  • by Spaeth Communications

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The New Year is starting off with BIMBOs from: President Obama, Amanda Knox, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (our 2013 Bimbo of the Year winner), the New York Times editorial editor, MSNBC anchor Kristen Welker, a mayoral candidate for Oklahoma City, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a leader for Trail Life (an organization seeking to replace the Boy Scouts) and the prime minister of France. Examples in the Wrong Thing to Say category come from a Washington Post blogger, actor Shia LaBeouf and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry. We have good examples from Liberty Bottleworks in Washington state, David Goldman at and Wired and the owner of a pub in Missouri who uses humor to make “Mr. Bucks” look really stupid.

“I never denied that I used marijuana,” said former President Bill Clinton seeming to contradict his now-famous comment during his 1992 presidential election where he said, “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.” (This was uncharacteristically stupid because the news media promptly replayed the original clip as well as reprised the even-more-famous, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Presumably, Mr. Clinton thinks that the increasing legalization of marijuana in various states makes it OK to now admit that he smoked weed.)

Mail Online, “Bill Clinton now claims he never denied smoking pot and notorious ‘I didn’t inhale quote’ was a ‘joke,’” Dec. 4, 2013

“Mr. Watts never committed identify theft and did not defraud BP or anyone else,” said Robert McDuff, an attorney for high-profile plaintiff’s lawyer, Mikal Watts. (BP sued Watts charging that he claimed to represent 40,000 residents of the Gulf Coast, but that 40 percent of the people listed did not match the Social Security number claimed for them or had dummy numbers such as all zeroes. While we’ve been highly critical of BP’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and its aftermath, we’re glad it is sticking up for itself against the outrageous behavior of the plaintiff’s bar. We think BP should engage more through the media and town hall meetings instead of leaning so heavily on advertising.)

San Antonio Express-News, “BP claims fraud by S.A. lawyer,” Dec. 18, 2013

“We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,” said President Obama as his administration was swamped by negative reactions to the debacle of, cancellations of existing plans and reports of deductibles rising steeply. (What makes this problematic is that the president did, in fact, by fiat delay implementation of key parts. He then tried to say that insurance companies could continue to provide previously issued policies, knowing that the companies had already priced risk and requirements. Some members of the mainstream media repeated the administration’s claim using the words that these plans were “substandard.” The quote became the headline in print and electronic media round the world.)

NBC Politics, “Obama on Affordable Care Act: “We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,’” Dec. 3, 2013

“I did not kill, rape, steal, mastermind, instigate. I did not kill Meredith and I did not participate in her murder,” said Amanda Knox via email to an Italian court, adding, “I am not a psychopath.” (Knox, who spent four years in an Italian jail, wrote this while a judge re-examined the evidence. She also pointed out that the prosecution found none of her DNA at the scene of the crime, which made it unlikely or impossible for her to have committed the crime. However, all the denials became the main message and the headline.

NBC World News, “Amanda Knox in email to Italian court: ‘I am not a psychopath,’” Dec. 17, 2013

“I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile,” said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who is unable to stay out of the headlines. (Dale is a reporter for the Toronto Star. Ford made the veiled accusation during an interview with Conrad Black, saying “He’s taking photos of little kids. I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking, ‘what’s this guy all about?’” Dale filed a libel suit against Ford who initially said he stood by every word of the original interview. Mayor Ford has become almost daily fodder for the media. Unfortunately, his comments overshadow what should be Toronto’s real image of a sophisticated, diverse and vibrant city.)

Global News, “Mayor Rob Ford apologizes to reporter Daniel Dale,” Dec. 17, 2013

“We have not chosen Mrs. Clinton,” wrote New York Times editor Andrew Rosenthal about Republican reaction to a long article which claimed that terrorist groups inspired by Al Qaeda were not involved in the attack on the Benghazi embassy and that the now-infamous video trailer was really responsible. Republicans on the Sunday talk shows charged that the Times was trying to promote Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. (Rosenthal insisted he didn’t know the article was under production until he read it himself in the paper. The Times went to significant lengths to prove that some central Al Qaeda headquarters were not involved in the attack. We suspect that the average American no longer distinguishes between terrorist loyalties, and we also found it peculiar that Mrs. Clinton was not mentioned at all in the lengthy article. Her role as secretary of state was airbrushed out of the attack and its aftermath.)

The New York Times Taking Note Blog, “Republicans React to Benghazi News,” Dec. 30, 2013

“Not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day,” anchor Kristen Welker said in response to Glenn Greenwald’s charge that on MSNBC, “24 hours a day the agenda of President Obama and the Democratic Party are promoted, defended, glorified (and) the agenda of the Republican Party is undermined.” (The exchange took place as Welker charged that the Guardian reporter had crossed a line by publicly defending former NSA leaker Edward Snowden. We agree completely with Greenwald who said, “Every journalist has an agenda.” Although our eyebrows went up when he continued that they are still journalists. We thought journalists, as opposed to commentators, were supposed to focus on facts and news. Passé?)

Business Insider, “Glenn Greenwald to MSNBC: I’m Defending Snowden Like You Defend Obama ‘24 Hours A Day,’” Dec. 26, 2013

“I have not used any illicit drugs or alcohol in more than nine years with many years of urine and hair screens to prove it,” said Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Ed Shadid after The Oklahoman obtained the records of his very nasty divorce in 2007. (Unfortunately for Shadid’s campaign, the records contradicted a number of his claims about drug use, watching pornography in front of his daughters and using physical force against his former wife. We believe Shadid’s contention that allegations made by his ex-wife are not completely true, but the lesson here is that if you’re going to run for office, nothing is going to be secret. If you are perceived as not being truthful about what went on, the presumption will swing from innocence to guilt. By only telling part of the story before the records were released, Shadid guaranteed additional bad publicity.)

The Oklahoman, “Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Ed Shadid responds to media reports on divorce records,” Dec. 23, 2013

“The reality is it hasn’t messed up 80 percent of the market,” was the most positive thing that Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., could say about Obamacare’s disruption of the insurance market. (Adding that his home state of Maryland was “a mess,” Van Hollen debated Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., about the problems surrounding the rollout of and how Obamacare was affecting the overall insurance market. Host David Gregory critically pointed out that President Obama was turning this into a political battle and accused Republicans of not working to help people and offering no ideas of their own.)

NBC News, “Meet the Press,” Dec. 1, 2013

“This is not a hater deal,” said Scott Scarborough a leader for Trail Life, a group breaking away from the Boy Scouts of America because of the organization’s decision to allow gay scouts. Trail Life will not accept openly gay youth. (All we can say is that this issue is far from settled. Those scouts are going to grow up and want to become Troop Leaders. Scarborough should stay away from negatives.)

The Dallas Morning News, “After Boy Scouts’ vote to admit gay youths, rival group takes root,” Dec. 16, 2013

“France isn’t acting like the cop of Africa,” said France’s prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. (The prime minister was reacting to growing criticism within France regarding the country’s involvement in the growing conflict in the Central African Republic which claimed the lives of two French paratroopers. The comment appeared in an article detailing how French forces were patrolling key areas like airports, searching houses and frisking people at checkpoints.)

The Wall Street Journal, “French Paratroopers’ Deaths Cloud Africa Mission,” Dec. 11, 2013


“Death spiral” was the accusation denied in a Washington Post blog post that defended Obamacare and was based on a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found that even if young people do not sign up on the exchanges, prices would rise “only one percent,” or that “premiums would fall 2.5 percent short of covering subscribers. (The excerpted report is stupefying in its economic ignorance. One of the authors, Larry Levitt, notes that insurance companies have profit margins of three to four percent, putting the industry far below many other industries. Further, the increases in premiums come as a stark rebuttal to the claim that families would save $2,500 a year. Levitt is quoted saying, “When you’re talking about profit margins around there, they might not lose money but they might not make that much either.” Now that’s an inducement to get into the business!)

The Washington Post Wonk Blog, “Why Obamacare won’t spiral into fiery, actuarial doom,” Dec. 17, 2013

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” tweeted Justine Sacco, senior director of corporate communications for Barry Diller’s company, IAC. (What was she thinking? And she was in communications? I see she made crisis expert Jonathon Bernstein’s top ten contenders for his new Weiner Awards as the most damaging tweets of the year. IAC did issue a statement saying that Sacco was “an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core.” One more reminder to pause and think before posting. We were pleased that Ms. Sacco apologized and said she was ashamed. Shame, a very useful societal tool, seems to have disappeared from today’s culture.)

Media Bistro, “Fired PR Executive Issues Apology Regarding her Tweet: ‘I Am Ashamed,’” Dec. 22, 2013  

Actor and writer Shia LaBeouf is in big trouble. He lifted dialogue from screenwriter/artist Daniel Clowes for a short film and has plagiarized language from several poets for comic books he has written. Worse, when caught, LaBeouf tweeted “I have let my family down, and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” which BuzzFeed pointed out was plagiarized from Tiger Woods’ 2009 apology. Then he tweeted an apology for that with “I was wrong, terribly wrong. I owe it to future generations to explain why,” which was tracked down as authored by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s memoir about the Vietnam War. (This is very disturbing, not only for the plagiarism but for apparently not having any advisers to whom he can turn.)

Buzzfeed, “Shia LaBeouf Seemingly Copied Bukowski, Others For His Own Comic Books,” Dec. 18, 2013

An uproar ensued when MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and guest Pia Glenn made fun of Mitt Romney’s family Christmas card, where he holds one of his grandchildren, an African-American baby adopted by a Romney child. (We think this was unwise and snarky but not worth the outrage with which conservatives reacted. We notice that the Romney family didn’t overreact and accepted Harris-Perry’s apology. The main issue here, for us, was the lopsided reaction from the mainstream media. If a conservative had made the comment, the media would have been apoplectic. We didn’t see the story mentioned anywhere.)

Business Insider, “MSNBC Host Apologizes to Romney Family After Mocking Mitt Romney’s Black Grandchild,” Dec. 31, 2013   


When a customer blasted Liberty Bottleworks, a Washington State company that makes metal water bottles, on the company’s Facebook page, Ryan Clark, the co-owner responded with a must read explanation. The customer’s complaint was that Liberty had a problem with her payment and didn’t respond in a timely fashion. Clark wrote back noting that she had hung up on them, and that his employees were with their families over the weekend. For good measure, he added they wouldn’t do business with someone who threatened them and he suggested local stores which could serve her. (Interestingly, the exchange has been deleted but you can see it on Reddit and Adweek, another example of how electronic information lives forever.)

PR Daily, “Company earns flood of business with smackdown of Facebook complaint,” Dec. 17, 2013

Lauren Penn queried Dr Pepper Snapple Group via Facebook about where she could get IBC cream soda in bulk for her upcoming wedding. A company manager wrote back, helped her find a local store and sent T-shirts for all her wedding guests. The delighted bride to be and her mother responded with additional posts of praise on the Dr Pepper Snapple Facebook wall (This is how you build true brand ambassadors.)

Dr Pepper Snapple Group Facebook page, Dec. 16, 2013

Kudos to David Goldman at and Wired on their pieces commenting on complaints that Uber, the cab app, was “price gouging.” Goldman produced a cogent, must read piece about supply and demand and how allowing market forces to operate can result in more service, more options and overall lower prices. At a time when certain groups are screaming about income inequality and demanding government regulate everything, the coverage of the “surge pricing” business model deserves a nod and further circulation., “Uber ‘price gouging’ complaints are silly,” Dec. 17, 2013

Wired, “Uber Boss Says Surging Prices Rescue People from the Snow,” Dec. 17, 2013

Starbucks’ attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Exit 6, a tiny Missouri pub that was serving a beer they called “Frappicino,” claiming Starbucks customers would be deceived and confused. Exit 6 Pub and Brewery owner Jeff Britton wrote back a screamingly funny letter to lawyer Anessa Owen Kramer with a cc to “Mr. Bucks,” apologizing for using the “f word,” and enclosed a six dollar check for royalties for the three beer “frappicinos” sold and noted that they had actually intended to mimic Mr. Bucks’ “Frappuccino” but they “were poor spelers.” Britton’s tongue-in-cheek response made national news – and made Starbucks look petty.

Gawker, “Brewpub Responds to Starbucks Cease and Desist with lots of F words,” Dec. 23, 2013


As Egypt’s new constitution was announced, a huge banner saying it was for “All Egyptians” hung in the background of the news conference. Alas, one of the featured individuals was a model for a site that sells stretch mark removal creams, another was a stock photo of a Getty model advertising an Irish network for business women, and a third was a photo from a site about how to employ people with Down syndrome. The photos of the only two people who were Egyptian, a farmer and a soldier, were taken by other journalists and used without permission. The incident triggered a raft of tweets and tittering. Arabic readers also pointed out that the word for “Egyptian” was misspelled.

The Wire, “Banner Promoting ‘All Egyptians Constitution’ Neglects to Include Actual Egyptians,” Dec. 15, 2013

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