Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for March 2021


  • Bimbo
  • February 26, 2021
  • by Spaeth Communications

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This month, we feature BIMBO comments from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Time Magazine Correspondent Molly Ball, Sen. Ben Sasse, Elon Musk, the former CEO of one of the largest shoe companies in Pakistan, Johnny Manziel, White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki and the mis-named Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). You’ll also read examples of the Wrong Thing To Say from a former QAnon supporter, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director nominee and the CFO of a natural-gas producer (an example to examine carefully and pass along to your company’s CFO). Stupid comments are included from famed investor Leon Cooperman and someone who undertook a novel challenge with Gorilla Glue.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“(Republicans need to) make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy,” said U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third highest ranking House Republican. (This comment could hardly be worse. While we agree wholeheartedly with her sentiment, her widely-quoted comment simply reinforced the idea that this is, in fact, how the GOP is perceived. She should have taken the opportunity to remind people what Republicans are the party of, namely, constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, such as religious freedom and freedom of speech, confidence in the individual and belief in a market-based economy as the creator of equality and opportunity.)

The New York Times, “Liz Cheney says G.O.P. must ‘make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy.,’” Feb. 23, 2021

THE RUNNERS-UP

“We are not bad people," said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters in 2004 in response to a Los Angeles Times report that found that members of her family had received over one million dollars from businesses and campaigns related to Waters. (The quote was reprised and included in a recent, updated report showing that the congresswoman’s daughter, Karen Waters, has received over $1.1 million for her services with her mother’s campaigns. Alas, this practice applies to elected officials of both parties. Can you say “swamp”?)

Fox News, “Maxine Waters has given over $1 million in campaign cash to daughter,” Jan. 30, 2021

“I’m not a cat,” said attorney Rod Ponton during a virtual Texas judicial district court hearing conducted via Zoom. (A cat filter had been turned on, which rendered him as a talking cat. This is a must watch for anyone who needs a laugh. See also Judge Roy Ferguson’s tweet releasing the recording and warning attorneys to ensure their Zoom filters are off before joining virtual hearings.)

The New York Times, “‘I’m Not a Cat,’ Says Lawyer Having Zoom Difficulties,” Feb. 9, 2021

"There’s nothing to investigate there,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a contentious press briefing regarding the number of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 as related to his policies. (Earlier, upon release of the state attorney general’s report accusing Cuomo's administration of undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Cuomo said, “Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died.” Bottom line: there is a lot to investigate! This story encapsulates a number of good internal educational tools because it illustrated the importance of speaking in simple sentences rather than in negative inversions. For example, in a New York Times article about the report, Commissioner of Health for New York State Dr. Howard Zucker said, “The word ‘undercount’ implies there are more total fatalities than have been reported.” He also added, “D.O.H. does not disagree that the number of people transferred from a nursing home to a hospital is an important data point.” Most of us have to read that several times to figure out what he meant. This story also shows why it’s very difficult to educate readers and/or viewers via a news story. It’s better to try to have one or two quotes. In this case, Zucker should have used the opportunity to stress that they were doing the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time.)

Yahoo! News, “‘Nothing to investigate’: Cuomo defends N.Y. nursing homes' COVID deaths data delay,” Feb. 15, 2021

“They were not rigging the election,” wrote Molly Ball, national political correspondent for Time Magazine. (Do you think the QAnon folks are crazy? Read this account by Time of a wide variety of coordination among public and private groups prior to the 2020 election, and you’ll better understand the Trump paranoia. Ball proudly documented what went on to deny Trump re-election. She wrote, “the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” This was all justified not as “rigging” the election but as “fortifying it.”)

The Wall Street Journal, “The Vast Anti-Trump ‘Conspiracy,’” Feb. 8, 2021

“Politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude,” said Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska in response to a call from the Nebraska Republican Party State Central Committee to censure him. (Sasse had criticized President Trump following the Capitol insurrection and refused to back the attempt to delay the certification of President Biden’s election. He added, “The party can purge Trump skeptics. But I’d like to convince you that not only is that civic cancer for the nation, it’s just terrible for our party.” We agree and think he said it as eloquently as possible.)

Politico, “‘Politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude’: Sasse shoots down Nebraska censure motion,” Feb. 4, 2021

“He never expressly called for an attack on the Capitol,” said James Robenalt, an expert on the Watergate scandal and impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon. (Robenalt added, “The lawyers will argue that his speech was protected Free Speech that did not call for imminent violence.” This may be an accurate description of Former President Trump’s eventual legal strategy—and true—but it’s also an example of why it’s a bad strategy for the court of public opinion. Former President Trump didn’t have to “expressly” issue an order for an attack on the Capitol. Remember, it’s all about asking, “Who’s my audience?” and “What do they hear and believe?”)

The Hill, “Trump legal switch hints at larger problems,” Feb. 1, 2021

“It’s not like they were huge idiots who wanted to throw their rocket away all the time,” said the always-quotable Elon Musk about his own engineering team. (The quote was contained in a lengthy and highly-technical story about why the latest SpaceX prototype crashed—again. It’s an interesting example of why it’s important to target your audience. Musk went on to explain,“One of the hardest engineering problems known to man is making a reusable orbital rocket. It’s stupidly difficult to have a fully reusable orbital system. It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of humanity.” What he was trying to say is that he has the most advanced team ever with the most ambitious goals—ever—and they are experiencing what you would expect in setting such lofty goals. But that’s not what he said. Note that his “stupidly difficult” phrase became the headline.)

 Ars Technica, “Putting the latest Starship crash into perspective—it’s ‘stupidly difficult,’” Feb. 2, 2021

“We don’t think of it as a shoe made for the Taliban,” said Omar Saeed, former CEO of Servis Shoes, one of the largest shoe companies in Pakistan. (Saeed was referring to a white, leather high-top sneaker that, per the headline below, has become a favorite of members of the Taliban. He tried to broaden the issue, noting, “We think everyone in Afghanistan wears it.” This is an article worth looking at for the photographs, which tell the story more powerfully than the text.)

The New York Times, “In Afghanistan, Follow the White High-Tops and You’ll Find the Taliban,” Jan. 28, 2021

“No Lincoln Project employee, intern, or contractors ever made an allegation of inappropriate communication about John Weaver,” said Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the anti-Trump group. (This was one of the more disgusting things that happened during the 2020 campaign. The Lincoln Project consists largely of has-been Republican consultants, including John Weaver, who have raised $90 million dollars, ostensibly to oppose former President Trump. About $60 million dollars of that total was spent on overhead and production costs and directed to consulting firms controlled by the Lincoln Project’s founders. Complaints about Weaver targeting young, gay men by offering them mentorship and connections, were some of the worst-kept secrets in Washington, D.C. When the scandal finally broke, pushed by former staff members and youths Weaver solicited, Lincoln Project leaders claimed to be “shocked.” This article is worth reading to see how Schmidt tried to deflect knowing anything. His denial continued that no one brought to his attention anything “that would have triggered an investigation by HR or by an outside employment counsel. In other words, no human being ever made an allegation about any inappropriate sexualized communications about John Weaver ever.”)

Associated Press News, “How a leading anti-Trump group ignored a crisis in its ranks,” Feb. 11, 2021

“None of my posts were false,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late U.S. Senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. (Kennedy has posted numerous posts on his social media accounts charging that the coronavirus vaccines cause COVID-19. Kennedy wrote, “Facebook, the pharmaceutical industry and its captive regulators use the term ‘vaccine misinformation’ as a euphemism for any factual assertion that departs from official pronouncements about vaccine health and safety, whether true or not.” The article is humorous in a dark sense because of the comments included claiming that celebrities get away with saying and posting anything they want. Are we just now finding this out?)

The Hill, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. anti-vaccine posts test tech crackdown pledge,” Feb. 12, 2021

“This isn’t me trying to be a comeback, redemption-type of tour for me to go back and play football anymore moving forward,” said Johnny Manziel discussing his decision to play in a new spring league, Fan Controlled Football (FCF), for a team called the Zappers. (This is such a heartbreaking story. The Heisman Trophy winner and exceptional talent frittered away opportunity after opportunity. Described as a “party boy” by the reporter, Manziel explained he’s joining the league because he’s “bored” since all he’s been doing since leaving the NFL is playing golf, hanging out with friends and playing cards. What’s disappointing is that he talked about hoping something he loves like he loved football will “pop up” in his life and how he didn’t always like the “grind” of football but wants to be good at something. How has he missed that anything you can be good at generally takes on-going commitment and hard work? And, yes, it’s frequently a “grind.” We can only say we wish him luck—and better friends.)

USA Today, “'This isn’t me trying to be a comeback:' Johnny Manziel returns with new and unusual league,” Feb. 12, 2021

“It is not an intentional diss,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. (This was a classic BIMBO comment made in response to a reporter who asked during a press briefing, “As I’m sure you know, there’s a narrative in Israel that this is an intentional diss. Is it?” The reporter was referring to the claim that the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu was being intentionally “dissed,” as in disrespected, by the fact that President Biden had yet to call him since beginning his term as president. Psaki spat back the negative. She actually went on to do a good job trying to paper over the issue, saying, “Prime Minister Netanyahu is someone the President has known for some time. Obviously, we have a long and important relationship with Israel, and the President has known him and has been working on a range of issues that there’s a mutual commitment to for some time. It is just a reflection of the fact that we have been here for three and a half weeks, he’s not called every single global leader yet, and he is eager to do that in the weeks ahead.” The White House press briefing transcript is a good transcript for political media junkies to read. Many of the questions asked of Psaki were softballs, but a number of them were legitimate and probing, which is the role of the White House press corps. Blessedly absent were the personal insults and posturing on both sides, which often occurred during the previous administration’s press briefings. If anyone knows Psaki, you might pass our BIMBO advice onto her since she fell into the trap again recently when she responded to a question about the escalating crisis on the southern border by saying, “This is not kids being kept in cages.”)

The White House, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, February 12, 2021,” Feb. 12, 2021

“I don’t think there was any of underestimation the seriousness of this storm,” said Bill Magness, president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). As a Dallas-based company with local residents who lost power for days, we have to ask, who’s got the tar? We’ll bring the feathers.

The Texas Tribune, “When will Texans get their power back? Officials don't know.,” Feb. 16, 2021

WRONG THING TO SAY

“So, I apologize for thinking that you ate babies,” said former QAnon supporter Jitarth Jadeja to Anderson Cooper during a CNN special, “Inside the QAnon Conspiracy.” (Jadeja apologized to Cooper after Cooper asked him, “Did you at the time believe that high-level Democrats and celebrities were worshipping Satan? Drinking the blood of children?” The article is worth reading for normal people because the claims are so outlandish that the first response is to think they’re jokes. Apparently, they are not.)

The Hill, “Former QAnon supporter apologizes to Anderson Cooper,” Jan. 31, 2021

“This week is like hitting the jackpot with some of these incredible prices,” said Roland Burns, CFO of natural-gas producer Comstock Resources Inc., referring to surge pricing in gas that has resulted in some homeowners paying $5,000 for a few days of electricity. (How tone deaf could he be? When all the media and talk is filled with examples of customers suffering without water and power, to be crowing about raking in the big bucks is outrageous. By contrast, another electricity provider, Vistra, which owns electricity retailers TXU Energy and Ambit, said, “Our residential customers on fixed and variable pricing plans were insulated from extreme wholesale power price swings. We do not put our customers at risk.” This was still a bit of a BIMBO comment due to the negative inversion, but it was much better than Burns’ comment.)

The Dallas Morning News, “Gov. Greg Abbott, other state leaders deplore ‘skyrocketing’ energy bills faced by some Texans,” Feb. 20, 2021

“Naples, Florida. Let ’em die. I’m so tired of these people. No vaccine for y’all,” posted Dr. Cleavon Gilman, a well-known emergency doctor promoted by the Biden White House, as a caption to a video of people in Florida shopping at a market without wearing masks. (This is an example of when you’ve fallen into a hole, stop digging. When his social media post predictably drew outrage, the doctor tried to blame Republicans and then repeated his comments again: “Republicans trying to take my words out of context as if I deny medical care to people that don’t wear masks & ‘let ’em die.'” He also said he was “so tired of giving 200% while others in the U.S. can’t even help by simply wearing a mask.” He should have stopped there.)

The Daily Wire, “‘Let ‘Em Die,’ ‘No Vaccines For Y’all’: White House-Promoted Doctor Reacts To Maskless Florida Market Video,”Feb. 4, 2021

“Vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz,” tweeted Neera Tanden, President Biden’s nominee for the powerful position of White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director. (During her first confirmation hearing, Tanden told senators that in November, she deleted more than 1,000 of her former tweets because she “regretted” her tone. Many of her tweets in question harshly criticized Republican leaders. Sen. Rob Portman read aloud some of her tweets and noted, “Just to mention a few of the thousands of negative public statements, you wrote that Susan Collins is the worst, that Tom Cotton is a fraud, that vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz. You called leader McConnell: Moscow Mitch and Voldemort, and on and on.” Predictably, the tweets lived on past their deletion. She tried to claim she had only been an “impassioned advocate” as head of a left-wing think tank. She actually did an excellent job telling her personal story as an immigrant from India, and she said all the right things about earning trust and being open minded. Still, this is an example of how negative comments, particularly vicious personal insults, will come back to land at your feet. It’s also an example of an insincere apology. She said, “I would just say again, to the extent that people are hurt by my language, I deeply apologize.” We are opposed to the “if you’re offended” apology. If you say or do something stupid or harmful, just acknowledge it and apologize. Apologies shouldn’t be conditioned on whether people are offended. Finally, note that the “vampires” line became the headline.)

Politico, “‘Vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz’: Tanden atones for past tweets,” Feb. 9, 2021

“His English was terrible,” said Seattle Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather about former Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. (Mather’s comment was made to members of a Rotary Club while he complained about the added expense of paying for an interpreter for Iwakuma. He said, “And I'm going to say, I'm tired of paying his interpreter. When he was a player, we'd pay Iwakuma 'X,' but we'd also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better. His English got better when we told him that." After, Mather commented on another player’s English-speaking abilities, saying, “Julio Rodriguez has got a personality bigger than all of you combined. He is loud. His English is not tremendous." Though Mather’s inappropriate remarks were made to a Rotary Club, they surfaced and received widespread criticism. This is a prime example of the fact that people pick up and repeat each other’s words, so something said in private to one audience will almost certainly be heard by another.)

ESPN, “Seattle Mariners president/CEO Kevin Mather resigns after comments,” Feb. 22, 2021

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID

“I would never want to stick no Gorilla Glue to my lip and have it stuck there and go through all the situations that I had to go through,” said Len Martin denying that he engaged in the Gorilla Glue challenge for attention. (Martin glued a cup to his upper lip using the product because he thought another stupid person, Tessica Brown, was exaggerating after she used Gorilla Glue as hairspray and has had her hair stuck solid for over a month. Health workers tried to remove the glue from Brown’s hair using acetone packs, but she will probably have to shave her head. Martin ended up in the Emergency Room after his experiment. Both discovered Gorilla Glue lives up to its name. Can it be long before we see an extra disclaimer on the packaging?)

New York Post, “Gorilla Glue challenge sends Louisiana man Len Martin to the ER,” Feb. 11, 2021

“America is a country that became great because people want to aspire to become wealthy," said Leon Cooperman, before a congressional hearing regarding the GameStop/Reddit sensation. (The famed billionaire investor denigrated critics like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are calling for more regulation. He charged that the idea that the Reddit-trader initiative was a battle between the wealthy and the poor was “baloney.” Cooperman should have stuck to his main point, that market ethics have been weakening for a long time and the rules need to be followed. Note that Bloomberg’s coverage of Cooperman’s remarks focused on reinstating something called the “uptick rule.” That message got lost in the personal criticism and his “become wealthy” comment, which achieved the opposite of what he should have said: “America is a great country because people have the freedom and opportunity to succeed.”)

Markets Insider, “Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman blasts the Reddit-trader revolution as 'baloney' - and says Warren, Sanders, and AOC shouldn't be deciding the market rules,” Feb. 19, 2021

AN OLD YET NOTEWORTHY EXAMPLE

And finally, a great example from Former President and CEO of Marriott International Arne Sorenson, who passed away this month due to cancer. In a short video in March 2020, Sorenson spoke directly to Marriott International associates to update them on the impact of COVID-19 on the company and the company’s corresponding response. He had just lost all of his hair to chemotherapy but managed to incorporate a combination of gentle humor, serious information and emotion.  

 

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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