Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for January and February 2021


  • Bimbo
  • January 28, 2021
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image b

What a treat! This is one of the richest BIMBO Memos we’ve ever compiled. Below are BIMBO comments from the co-leader of PwC’s national tax office, Fox News anchor Bret Baier, President Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki and the about-to-be-ousted Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Also included are examples of the Wrong Thing to Say from actor David Cross, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (illustrating that there is no private venue), departing Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Tiger Woods’ former mistress. You’ll also read good examples from FedEx and young poet Amanda Gorman, who recited her work at President Biden’s inauguration.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“These people aren’t drooling, mind-controlled cultists,” said Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory researcher who is writing a book about QAnon. (The book is about believers of this internet-spread belief that, as The New York Times described it, “the world is run by a Satanic group of pedophiles...” Believe it or not, Rothschild meant his comment as a compliment. The article offers an in-depth profile of Valerie Gilbert, a Harvard-educated writer, actress and QAnon believer.)

The New York Times, “A QAnon ‘Digital Soldier’ Marches On, Undeterred by Theory’s Unraveling,” Jan. 17, 2021

THE RUNNERS-UP

“This is not a Sidney Powell lawsuit. This is not a Rudy Giuliani lawsuit. This is not a Lin Wood lawsuit. This is not a Team Trump lawsuit. This is not a Republican lawsuit. This is not a Democrat lawsuit,” read language from a footnote in a compliant filed by Texas attorney Paul Davis. In what may be the equivalent of the Mega Millions lottery, this is perhaps the largest congregation of BIMBO comments that we’ve seen. (The 54-page complaint opened with a statement asserting that it is "not a 2020 presidential election fraud lawsuit" and that it doesn't seek to change the declared winner of any elections. Based on the subsequent arguments, those statements appear blatantly false. What the lawsuit really “is not” is a serious lawsuit.) 

Salon.com, “Texas lawyer fired after Capitol riot files ambitious suit: Dissolve Congress, don't arrest him,” Jan. 22, 2021

“I’m not for any witch hunts,” said Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn arguing that, if there is an impeachment trial of former President Trump, the president’s lawyers should be allowed time to construct and mount a defense. (We hope this talk of a second impeachment fizzles out, if only because it keeps alive the controversies spawned by the previous administration, it will certainly delay President Biden’s administration and it will continue to inflame partisan differences. So-called “bipartisanship” may be illusory, but we think it can be achieved on certain issues. Cornyn’s comment was interesting because it was not a typical BIMBO comment; it was more of an introduction of a key phrase—“witch hunt”—to characterize how people perceive undue haste.)

CNN, “Prospects of convicting Trump erode as GOP grows vocal against Senate impeachment proceedings.” Jan. 22, 2021

“The notion that there’s some big giveaway here is not consistent with the way these regulations were drafted,” said Pat Brown, co-leader of PwC’s national tax office. (This was a classic BIMBO comment and damaging, as the company leader should have known better. The debate, which will grow louder, has to do with the complex topic of taxation and the 2017 tax law, which lowered the corporate tax rate and changed taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign income. Democrats want more tax revenue, and many want to punish global companies for what they see as avoiding taxes. The reality is that global companies operate in many tax venues and need to be competitive. Brown should have used his opportunity to talk about competitiveness.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Trump-Era Tax Rule Benefiting Some Multinationals May Get Revised Under Biden,” Dec. 7, 2020 

“Harold is not a Maoist,” said Fox News’ Bret Baier after an interview with former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. During the remote interview, a large print of Mao Zedong was visible on the wall behind Ford’s right shoulder. (Baier helpfully reported that Ford was standing in a rental vacation home for which he didn’t choose the art. It was interesting that Fox News recognized the potential image problem and cropped out the painting mid-interview.)

Twitchy, “‘Harold is not a Maoist’: Bret Baier explains why there was a painting of Mao behind Harold Ford Jr. during his interview on Thursday,” Jan. 15, 2021

“I’m not a monster,” said newly appointed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki regarding her promise for the return of daily press briefings, with the exception of weekends. (In our judgment, Psaki did an excellent job just by showing up. She really had nothing to say, but that wasn’t the point. Reports noted that the session was “void of personal insults,” which characterized press briefings under the Trump Administration. Psaki did an excellent job setting the tone and committed to “share the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.” Read my recent blog post about why this is such important advice. The soft treatment given to Biden when he was a candidate mostly carried through to the first White House press briefing, although reporters did at least ask questions on relevant topics. It remains to be seen if they have reclaimed their spines to ask tougher questions, albeit politely, in months to come.)

The New York Times, “Psaki Tries to Strike a New Tone in the White House Briefing Room,” Jan. 21, 2021

“This is not a withdrawal,” said Illinois Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, as he struggled to collect enough votes to secure another term as Speaker. Instead, he described his actions as a campaign suspension. (The debate surrounding Madigan was driven by a ComEd bribery scandal, in which federal prosecutors accused ComEd of directing $1.3 million in payments to Madigan’s associates in return for legislative influence, a charge that Madigan denied. His denial was another classic BIMBO comment: “I never made a legislative decision with improper motives.” This was a classic example of a denial that caused listeners to believe the opposite. Madigan immediately lost the speakership, albeit to a close ideological and political colleague.)

CBS 2 Chicago, “Madigan: ‘I Have Suspended My Campaign For Speaker,’” Jan. 11, 2021

“We weren’t trying to take money and fleece anybody, that’s not the goal. Did it work out? No. And now it’s somebody else’s turn,” said Joe Neville. (Joe is the brother of Colorado state Rep. Patrick Neville, who as minority leader, directed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his brother’s company, Rearden Strategic. Under Patrick’s “leadership,” Colorado Republicans dwindled to become a minority party and are embroiled in internal bickering, charges of cronyism and a total lack of transparency. Some elected officials concluded that funds were deployed to keep Patrick in office rather than to build the party and recruit new members and candidates. The accounting is of interest for two reasons. First, it’s a good example of what media should be doing, and we can only hope the national media will adopt the same diligence with the new Biden Administration. Second, it’s a warning to Republicans nationally who are trying to find the way forward. Think about Ronald Reagan and his 80 percent big-tent philosophy and about competing and communicating proactively.)

The Denver Post, “What happened to the Colorado Republican Party?” Dec. 20, 2020

“All this rhetoric about the union stopping this or that—we’re not stopping anything,” said Diamonté Brown, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union. (Of course, the teachers unions, particularly in Chicago, are stopping schools from re-opening by demanding all teachers be vaccinated, ventilators be installed and more. For the Chicago teachers especially, who are aware of growing parental dissatisfaction, this is a power play aimed at sending a message to city administrators: “Give us what we want, or we’ll see that you get voted out of office.” Under Illinois labor law, it’s actually illegal for public school teachers to strike during collective bargaining agreements. What’s needed from city administrators? A backbone.)

USA Today, “Your kid might not return to a classroom this year. Are teachers unions to blame?” Jan. 25, 2021

WRONG THING TO SAY

“I want blood,” said actor David Cross responding to then President-elect Joe Biden’s call for unity. (We didn’t quote Cross exactly right. He started by saying “F**k that.” Cross joined others who were calling for McCarthy-style lists, or “archives” in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) words. While others such as comedian Bill Maher were calling for dialogue and dismissing sentiments like Cross’, the internet today enables the most extreme views. We expect to see more attacks on people who served in President Trump’s administration. What Cross said was wrong. Not surprisingly, his extreme statement made the headline.)

The Daily Wire, “‘Arrested Development’ Star David Cross Responds To Biden’s Call For Unity: ‘F*** That. I Want Blood,’” Dec. 28, 2020

“I feel like I’m not a country boy,” said University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts during a teleconference previewing the SEC Championship Game against Alabama. (Pitts was explaining why he hadn’t considered accepting an offer to play for the Crimson Tide back in 2017. The exchange is interesting as an example of word use. Pitts made the comment in what seemed like an off-hand, not-meant-to-be-offensive way saying, “I feel like I‘m not a country boy. I mean, I got an offer from Alabama, but that was something I didn’t really consider.” The “country boy” phrase was picked up by reporters and splashed across the sports world just before Florida played Alabama, which, by the way, was the nation’s top-ranked team and won 52-46. Could the “country boys” have wanted to prove a point? This is just another example of how we pick up and repeat words—and if you haven’t thought about it, the wrong ones can create a lot of trouble.)

AL.com, “Florida star Kyle Pitts recalls Alabama recruitment, why he didn’t pick Tide,” Dec. 15, 2020

Another example of how words move from person-to-person came from a supposedly private call that then-Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer had with donors explaining the loss of North Carolina Senate Candidate Cal Cunningham. The headline said it all, so we won’t repeat it except to note that, even in the most confidential of circumstances, if you say something sensational, someone will pass it on.

The Daily Wire, “‘Couldn’t Keep His Zipper Up’: Chuck Schumer Blames Cal Cunningham Affair, RBG Death For Senate Loss,” Dec. 1, 2020  

“If you can loot businesses, burn down buildings, engage in protests, you can also go to a Christmas party,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. (This was another ill-advised attempt to point out the skewed reporting on protests and to defend the Trump Administration’s difficulties reconciling the benefits of wearing masks with the frustration of Americans longing to congregate again. McEnany should not have blurred her message. In fairness to her, she had a tough job given the federal back-and-forth on when and how to wear masks and on President Trump’s refusal to model good behavior.)

Bloomberg, “Trump Spokeswoman Says If It’s Safe to Loot, It’s Safe to Party,” Dec. 2, 2020

“And I think that it’s very interesting that I come off as this very threatening, horrible person,” said Rachel Uchitel, known for having an affair with a married Tiger Woods. She added, “I’ve had to live with such hatred of people…” Uchitel is back in the public eye with an HBO documentary “Tiger.” (She shouldn’t have used her time to repeat all the negatives about herself. She briefly noted she hoped people could get to know her better, but it was overshadowed by the “threatening, horrible” quotes. We’re betting that after all this time, most people don’t even know who she is.)

Page Six, “Rachel Uchitel trying to clear her name 10 years after Tiger Woods affair,” Jan. 13, 2021

NOT TO BE MISSED (GOOD AND BAD)

GOOD: Twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman, read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” as part of President Biden’s inauguration. We recommend listening to it in its entirety here. I was very moved and wrote about it on our blog.

CNN, “Youth poet laureate recites her stunning poem at Biden inauguration,” Jan. 20, 2021

BAD: Another 22-year-old, Miya Ponsetto, made headlines for all the wrong reasons when she accosted and accused a 14-year-old boy of stealing her cell phone. She had left it in an Uber whose driver later returned it to her hotel. The boy’s father, a prominent jazz musician, recorded on his cell phone the confrontation and Ponsetto’s physical attack. Ponsetto hired a competent lawyer who set up a round of interviews during which Ponsetto was supposed to apologize for her behavior, but she couldn’t stick to her script and ended up blowing up at the reporter, Gayle King. It’s a must watch for anyone with a difficult client as well as a valuable contribution to how not to apologize.

CBS This Morning, “Miya Ponsetto charged with attempted assault,” Jan. 11, 2021

THE POWER OF AN ANECDOTE

This just missed the last BIMBO Memo, but we wanted to include it as an example of the power of an anecdote. The headline told the whole story. What we want to point out is how the action of the FedEx driver illustrates the company’s “Purple Promise,” which states, “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.” This story exemplifies what this means in action. Note, the driver actually made two trips, and one of them was on her day off! Read this story and pass it around to your colleagues.

The Washington Post, “A FedEx driver saw a boy play basketball with a rusty hoop. She went to a store and bought him a new one.,” Nov. 30, 2020

VALIDATION

“We Know How to Curb the Pandemic. How Do We Make People Listen?” read the headline of a New York Times article. (Good question. That’s in large part how we make our living, influencing what people hear, believe and remember. Then, understanding and influencing what they pass on. The New York Times reported on a study that tested how hotels were getting guests to reuse towels rather than drop them on the floor to be picked up by the staff and cleaned after one use. Environmental education made a small dent in this effort, but letting guests know that 75 percent of guests participated in the effort worked better. In fact, the guests exposed to that messaging were 25 percent more likely to reuse their towels than the group simply informed that reusing towels would help protect the environment. People like to be part of the main crowd or the in-group. The article also reported on a variety of other tactics that public officials are deploying to increase participation or compliance in several areas. It’s a good resource for companies looking to enlist employees or customers.)

The New York Times, “We Know How to Curb the Pandemic. How Do We Make People Listen?” Dec. 10, 2020

“While starting off at a new job, one of my first items is reviewing the firm’s crisis management plan,” said Arielle Patrick, former Edelman executive now working as the chief communications officer for Ariel Investments. (We concur and hope every C-suite leader hears and acts on her words.)

The New York Times, “The Work Diary of an Executive Who Must Find Just the Right Words,” Jan. 15, 2021

 

The BIMBO Memo is a reminder not to repeat and deny a negative word because of how the listener hears words. When you repeat and deny a negative word, the listener is likely to overlook the denial and hear the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. It’s named for the young woman who was caught with a high profile, but alas married man. She held a press conference and announced, “I am not a BIMBO,” thus causing everyone to think she was.



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