Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees For June 2019


  • Bimbo
  • June 1, 2019
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image a

In this BIMBO Memo, you’ll learn how not to handle a political crisis and read about a Muslim school counting on the fact that Americans don’t speak Arabic. There are also several examples of the power of what we call “bad words,” embarrassing typos, a great illustration of using props to drive memory and many more BIMBO comments.

THE WINNER

“(The App Store) is not a monopoly by any metric,” wrote Apple in a statement reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision that consumers can sue Apple for excessive prices on its App Store. (Apple claimed that app developers should be the litigation target and argued that it would be basically impossible to calculate damages for millions of consumers. In his ruling, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh asserted that was not a “get-out-of-court-free card for monopolistic retailers.” The real news in this case was Kavanaugh joining the four liberal Justices.)

USA Today, “Supreme Court says iPhone users can sue Apple for excessive prices on its App Store,” May 13, 2019

The RUNNERS-UP

“The FBI doesn’t spy,” said Former FBI Director James Comey when asked to explain why Attorney General William Barr used the word “spy” when describing the Bureau’s agents’ actions in the now-sensationally publicized investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign. (He continued, “The FBI investigates.” He should have stuck to just that phrase. This is an example of how an inflammatory word replicates itself. Note that the negative word made the headline.)

Politico, “Comey: ‘The FBI doesn’t spy. The FBI investigates,’” May 8, 2019

“I’m not looking at this as an opportunity to do mischief,” said Idaho’s governor Brad Little. (A quirk of the state’s laws allows all existing regulations to expire annually. Feuding among legislators resulted in the legislature’s failing to pass a rule-reauthorization bill as it usually does. The result? All regulations sunset July 1. Little is pro-limited government but hasn’t confirmed how specifically he will handle the bonanza of deregulation. All we can say is, cause mischief!)

The Wall Street Journal, “The Great Idaho Do-Over,” May 16, 2019

WRONG THING TO SAY

“The Office adamantly denies that the termination of Ms. Small’s employment was based on her gender or pregnancy,” said the press secretary for Rep. Henry Cuellar responding to the charges of a former chief of staff. (This is another example of the risk of having lawyers write statements. All the denial does is link Kristie Small’s dismissal to pregnancy. Cuellar’s press secretary Olya Voytovich continued, “It is against office policy to discuss specific details about internal personnel matters and the Office will use the forum that the plaintiff chose – federal court – to address the complaint, not the media.” Voytovich should have hung Cuellar’s hat on respect for privacy, not Office policy, and should have avoided taking a swipe at Small for filing a legal complaint in court.”

Roll Call, “Former staffer sues Rep. Henry Cuellar, saying she was fired because she was pregnant,” May 8, 2019

“… not proud of (some things he did in the past),” said Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, as revelations screamed in headlines that he and his now-former chief of staff Cade Cothren exchanged via text racist and sexually explicit comments about women. (Casada was recently under fire for his comments supporting Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, after Byrd was accused of sexually assaulting three women decades ago. Casada was caught on video saying "... if I was raped, I would move." These new charges played out over a number of days and offer an excellent example of how not to manage a crisis. Casada first claimed his chief of staff had been felled because “Politics has become a game of ‘gotcha’ with no thought of forgiveness and starting anew.” Meanwhile, Cothren said his drug use was a result of “maladaptive coping mechanisms.”After Cothren resigned, Casada described the inappropriate texts as “ … base locker room talk, if you will, among two adult men.”Casada did finally apologize and added, “It’s embarrassing and humbling to have it displayed in this manner.” By this point, the controversy had escalated to the point where Casada felt compelled to tell his Republican colleagues during a telephone conference, “… let me be very clear, there’s nothing else to come out.” The lesson to be learned from this episode is to get bad news out as quickly as possible, to prevent it from dribbling out over time. Also, don’t try to minimize the problem by dismissing the comments. The conclusion of this example was the announcement of Casada’s official resignation.)

Times Free Press, “After admitting drug use, Tennessee House speaker’s top aide resigns amid allegations of racist and sexually explicit texts,” May 6, 2019

“ … an unintended mistake and an oversight,” was how the national Muslim American Society (MAS) defended a video in which children sang, “We will defend the land of divine guidance with our bodies, and we will sacrifice our souls without hesitation. We will chop off their heads, and we will liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque. We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling His promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture.” (The video surfaced and, although ignored by national media, was confirmed by The Inquirer. The MAS said in a Facebook post that the person in charge of the program was dismissed and assured that the chapter will take further steps in assuring strict adherence to publishing and posting policies.” We don’t see any way this could have been an “unintended mistake.”)

The Philadelphia Inquirer, “North Philadelphia mosque explains how children wound up reciting violent poem in video,” May 15, 2019

“Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later,” said Alabama Rep. John Rogers when commenting about the controversial bill that makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion where there is no health risk for the woman. (While we understand that Rogers was trying to express his opposition to the bill, there are certainly better ways to express his disapproval.)

Newsweek, “‘Some Kids Are Unwanted, So You Kill Them Now Or You Kill Them Later’ Alabama Rep. Criticized Over Abortion Ban Remarks,” May 2, 2019

POWER OF WORDS

“Fake” has become a popular attack word in the last few years, notably with President Trump criticizing what he calls “fake news.” To be “fake” isn’t good, so we are watching the effort of the “plant-based meat substitute” providers to grow the artificial meat industry. A company called Beyond Meat Inc. had an IPO that achieved “the best first-day percentage gain for a U.S.-listed initial public offering this year,” so investors clearly think the company has a future. However, when a major paper describes the product as “fake meat” in the headline, we think the road to success is going to be a long haul.

The Wall Street Journal, “Investors Love Fake Meat. Will Consumers?” May 3, 2019 

“Sorcery” was how an extremely uninformed Texas legislator characterized vaccines. (The exchange came when one of the nation’s most distinguished pediatricians, Dr. Peter Hotez, tweeted a link to an article about the dangerous rise in Texas parents seeking exemptions from vaccinations for non-medical reasons even as the nation experiences record outbreaks of measles. We’re embarrassed that Rep. Jonathan Stickland is a Bedford Republican.)

The Dallas Morning News,“Vaccines are ‘sorcery’? How one Texas legislator is hurting public health,” May 8, 2019

When the first spacewalk for two women was announced, it was a historic moment. It was also cancelled, not because of illness or some other failure, but because NASA only had one spacesuit that could fit a woman. Just one. The resulting flap drew attention to the number of products designed for male bodies and simply made smaller or colored pink for women. A university analyzed the most commonly used terms advertisers employ when selling to the sexes,” and the most common words used to describe women’s products were “happy,” “exciting,” “love,” “perfect,” “soft,” “sensitive,” “best,” “beautiful,” “warm”and “romantic.” By contrast, the most common words used to describe men’s products were “classic,” “ultimate,” “extreme,” “fastest,” “rugged,” “uncompromising,” “professional,” “legendary,” “intense” and “confident.” It’s no surprise to women that designers ignore the difference between male and female bodies. Besides space suits, additional research identified a wide range of products that need to be designed specifically for women including bike saddles, running shoes, backpacks, pianos and countless more.

The Wall Street Journal, “Sports Gear Designed for Women’s Bodies—Not Stereotypes,” May 10, 2019

CALLING ALL COPY EDITORS

Who hasn’t suffered an embarrassing typo? Australia issued new $50 notes without noticing that the word “responsibility” was misspelled as “responsibilty.” It was particularly problematic because the error was contained in a paragraph from a speech by Edith Cowan, the country’s first female member of parliament, who said, “It is a great responsibilty to be the only woman here … ” (No spell check Down Under?)

The Guardian, “Australian $50 note typo: spelling mistake printed 46 million times,” May 8, 2019

Sometimes a typo causes very real problems. The Trump tax reform law contained a typo that changed how businesses expense costs related to renovations and refurbishment work. The typo causes businesses “to wait 39 years for full tax relief on store renovations,” rather than deducting the cost of such work from their tax bills the year the work is carried out. Small businesses will pay the biggest price. Congress has yet to correct the “inadvertent drafting error.” We again recommend that no one serve in Congress until they have started a small business.

Financial Times, “Trump tax reform typo creates costly headache for US retailers,” May 20, 2019

USE OF PROPS

It is no secret that Congress is feuding with Attorney General William Barr. We have to tip our hat to member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., who brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a ceramic chicken to the committee hearing when Barr didn’t show up to testify. Naturally, it made all the print and TV media and was the picture of the day. As we always say, props are effective memory drivers.

NBC News, “Democrat mocks Barr with bucket of fried chicken at hearing,” May 2, 2019

EXCELLENT ADVICE

Executive director of the MIT Leadership CenterHal Gregersen offered great advice for everyone who answers—and asks!—questions. He said: “If you want a dramatically better answer, the key is to ask a better question.” While his advice is aimed at C-suite inhabitants, it’s a blueprint for those of us interviewing potential job applicants, building relationships within our company and, yes, for aspiring reporters to rise above Googling to see what previous questions were asked of an interviewee. It is a good idea to equip your CEO and remind him or her that you can help develop these skills.

The Wall Street Journal, “The Secret to Asking Better Questions,” May 9, 2019

 

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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