Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for June 2020


  • Bimbo
  • May 28, 2020
  • by Spaeth Communications

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We feature BIMBO comments this month from a European Union diplomat who still gets an A for honesty and a White House official. You’ll also read examples of the Wrong Thing To Say from New York City’s health commissioner, Trump’s campaign manager (can anyone get the BIMBO Memo to him?) and, of course, a major blunder from Presidential Candidate and Former Vice President Joe Biden.

THE WINNER

“The truth will reveal this is not just another act of violent racism,” said Frank Hogue, attorney for Gregory McMichael. (McMichael and his son Travis are accused in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an African-American jogger whose death generated national concern and outrage. Hogue added, “Greg McMichael did not commit murder,” thus reinforcing the charge that McMichael committed murder, and Hogue continued with a string of negatives including, “Greg McMichael is not a party to the crime of murder. This is not some sort of hate crime fueled by racism.”)

The Washington Post, “Attorney for man accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery says ‘this is not just another act of violent racism,’” May 15, 2020

THE RUNNERS-UP

 “I will never lie to you,” said new White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany at her first press briefing. (This is a classic BIMBO comment because she was set up by a question from Associated Press Reporter Jill Colvin, who asked, “Will you pledge never to lie to us from that podium?” When she responded, McEnany fell right into the trap. In response to a similar question, President Carter’s Press Secretary Jody Powell said, “I tell a modified, limited version of the truth.” Possible responses McEnany could have asserted instead include: “I’ll try my best,” “Let me put that in perspective. My goal is to share the best information I have at the moment,” or “I’m here to respond to your questions, and I’ll do the best I can with each one.” McEnany shouldn’t have let Colvin put words in her mouth.)

The Washington Post, “Kayleigh McEnany promises reporters: ‘I will never lie to you,’” May 1, 2020

“We’re not going to say it’s not a pain in the neck,” said Dr. Trish Perl, chief of infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center. (Perl was talking about the importance of wearing masks. This is a clear BIMBO comment because listeners hear, “You bet it’s a pain!” Throughout the entire pandemic ordeal, one clear lesson has emerged: experts need communication skills as much as medical training. For example, leading expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has hurt his credibility by contradicting himself over the months by saying things off the cuff like, “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again.”)

The Dallas Morning News, “‘We prevented New York City from happening in Dallas’: Health experts push importance of staying vigilant,” May 21, 2020

“There was no watering down of our findings,” said Josep Borrell, senior European Union diplomat. (Borrell was trying to explain why a report on disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, described as a “routine roundup of publicly available information and news reports,” was softened to eliminate reference to Chinese efforts to spread falsehoods and propaganda around the world. However, the report was softened only after  Chinese officials criticized the report. Outraged lawmakers comparing early and final versions of the report demanded an explanation. We give Borrell an A for honesty. He replied, “Look, it’s clear and evident that China expressed their concerns. I am not going to reveal how it was done because we don’t explain publicly this kind of the diplomatic context.” Translation: We watered it down and got caught.)

The New York Times, “Top E.U. Diplomat Says Disinformation Report Was Not Watered Down for China,” April 30, 2020

“It’s not muzzling, it’s not blocking,” said a White House official commenting on the decision to decline to let Dr. Anothony Fauci testify before a House subcommittee charged with investigating the coronavirus outbreak and response. (The White House argued it would be “counterproductive” to take Fauci away from his work. The real reason was that the hearing wasn’t an investigation. It was made-for-TV theater and a place where a doctor could have been easily set up for inflammatory soundbites. In April, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield commented on whether the virus would still be present next winter. He responded with a long answer about the virus and the annual flu existing together, but The Washington Post headline was “CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating.” The White House knew the subcommittee hearing was just an opportunity to find a few phrases for the partisan grist. But that still doesn’t excuse the “muzzling” and “blocking” comment. The White House would have been better served by explaining the likelihood of misquotes.)

The Washington Post, “White House blocks Fauci from testifying before House panel next week,” May 1, 2020

WRONG THING TO SAY

“I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops,” said New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot to NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan. This was after Monahan asked the city to supply the 55,000 members of the police department with protective face masks for those who have the thankless task of preventing citizens groups from congregating. (This comment was made in late March during a discussion, but it’s a good teaching example of how insults get repeated and cause harm forever. Note that the quote made the headline.) 

Liberty Headlines, “NYC Commissioner Tells Police Chief: ‘I Don’t Give Two Rats’ Asses About Your Cops,’” May 15, 2020

“For nearly three years we have been building a juggernaut campaign (Death Star),” tweeted Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump 2020. (It doesn’t inspire confidence that Parscale compared Trump’s campaign to the Star Wars Death Star, “a sprawling spherical construction capable of housing more than a million military personnel, and another 400,000 droids.” Who’s advising Parscale? Leave the hyperbole to President Trump.)

The Guardian, “Trump’s ‘juggernaut’ re-election bid like the Death Star, campaign boss boasts,” May 7, 2020

“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” said Presidential Candidate and Former Vice President Joe Biden during an appearance on syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club.” The comment was made during the final minute of an 18-minute interview. (This comment has been widely reported and commented on by critics as well as Biden supporters noting it’s just another slip of the tongue. At this point in his career, Biden should know his audience and the importance of choosing one’s words wisely and thoughtfully. We tend to agree with Sen. Tim Scott’s, R-S.C., response: "And so, for Joe Biden to say to 1.3 million African Americans who voted for President Trump that they ‘ain't black’ is arrogant, condescending and it frankly speaks to the families of the 1.3 million African-Americans as well. And frankly, I am just amazed that the last decade Democrats have had an entitlement mentality that they are entitled to the black vote.")

The New York Times, “Biden’s ‘Breakfast Club’ Controversy Shows What His Rivals Already Knew,” May 23, 2020

INTERESTING EXAMPLE

Is the news staged? Occasionally the public receives a behind-the-scenes peek. CBS News ran a story showing a long line of patients waiting to get into a Michigan health center for coronavirus testing. Project Veritas claimed, “A CBS News crew pulled medical professionals off the floor at the Cherry Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to line up in their vehicles so a CBS film crew would have a long line for their COVID-19 coverage.” The image of the alleged long line was displayed during a CBS report that, “featured Gov. Gretchen Whitmer blaming the federal government for not doing enough to prepare for testing needs.” It turned out that Cherry Health facility hosted a campaign event two months prior for former Vice President Joe Biden, “Where he was lauded by Gov. Whitmer.” CBS included a BIMBO comment in its response, “CBS News did not stage anything at the Cherry Health facility,” as did Cherry Health CEO Tasha Blackmon who said, “I did not instruct any of our staff to get in their cars as part of the line of vehicles.” The problem, and the reason we’re including this example, is that the news stages itself by the very act of what it chooses to cover. We’re willing to believe CBS didn’t officially demand more waiting patients. We’re sure it happened organically. A reporter or camera person likely said something about how the line of waiting cars wasn’t very impressive and the facility responded. Hopefully, the public is aware of the importance of referencing several sources of information.

The Wall Street Journal, “CBS Blames Source for Fake News,” May 6, 2020

 

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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