Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for September 2007


  • Bimbo
  • September 3, 2007
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image e

GOOD QUOTE

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush was asked for a comment about Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick and the dog fighting charges brought against him. Reggie said, “It’s not just about you any more. If you’re going to play football and be fortunate enough to have the other deals on the side, you’d better make sure you conduct yourself accordingly.”

USA Today, “Contracts carry many obligations,” July 31, 2007

 

WINNING COMMENT – Wrong use of statistics

Over 99 percent of China’s export products are good and safe,” said Chinese commerce minister, Bo Xilai, about the cascade of recalls and criticism over toys contaminated with lead, shellfish and other foods laced with chemicals and other problems. (Let’s see, one percent of 1.5 million Thomas the Tank engine toys means 15,000 are dangerous. One percent of half a trillion dollars of exports is $5 billion. China may be getting help from one of the large U.S. PR firms, but their strategy and the resulting comments are questionable. Saying “99 percent are safe” causes every parent and consumer to wonder if the one toy their child has is the dangerous one.)

The Financial Times, “China says ‘over 99% of exports safe,’” August 2, 2007

The Wall Street Journal Asia, “Hong Kong toy maker poses dilemma for clients in U.S.,” August 17-19, 2007

 

SAYING THE RIGHT THING

The questionable strategy continues with Wang Xinpei, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, who said “We really care about toy safety, not only in exports but in this country.”  Zhao Baoqing, First Secretary for Trade and Commerce, attacked American products to try to deflect criticism from China. (The strategy is clearly to position defective and dangerous goods as an international problem, not a Chinese problem. That’s dangerous because it only confirms that Chinese food and product exports are dangerous. In addition, the scale of contaminated exports and the blatant disregard for safety and health in China is on a far greater scale than in the U.S. Plus, reporters are going to collect quotes from people other than official sources. Sidney To, chairman of Hong Kong based Playmates Holdings, confirmed that Chinese manufacturers had problems with suppliers, but said “It’s always better to work with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”)

The Wall Street Journal Asia, “Official says food safety isn’t just China’s problem,” August 17-19, 2007

The Wall Street Journal Asia, “Hong Kong toy maker poses dilemma for clients in U.S.,” August 17-19, 2007

 

WINNING BIMBO

IBM did not engage in kickbacks, false claims or any other illegal conduct alleged in the various complaints that have been filed in this matter,” said IBM in a statement in connection with an agreement to pay $2.97 million to settle allegations from the Justice Department. (IBM’s statement did continue, “IBM’s business practices and policies comply with all applicable statutes and regulations including requirements related to government contracts.”  The Justice Department’s press release only said that whistle blowers charged that the company “solicited and provided improper payments.”  By using the words “kickbacks, false claims” the story got bumped up to front pages in business news.)

The Wall Street Journal Asia, “IBM denies illegal activity but settles kickback charges,” August 17-19, 2007

 

CO-WINNING BIMBO

I am not gay, I never have been gay,” said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

Multiple sources, August 28, 2007

 

AND THE REST…

A reception that donors attend…doesn’t in itself show any undue influence,” said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., in response to criticism that the Democratic ’08 convention is just an opportunity for people to meet and socialize with her, starting at $250,000.  By contrast, the Republican convention in the Twin Cities in Minnesota offers a chance to have a private reception with Gov. Tim Pawlenty for $1 million. He told reporters, “There’s nothing wrong with people attending a dinner or social time together.” (The congresswoman shouldn’t have said anything. The governor continued, “People can get access to me anytime. It’s Minnesota after all.”   He should have stuck to that comment.)

USA Today, “Hosts are in overdrive to foot ’08 convention bills,” July 27, 2009

USA Today, “Dish with power brokers – for a price,” July 27, 2009

 

This is not a rescue,” said Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar, about putting $2 billion into their hedge fund, Global Equity Opportunities Fund, which lost 30 percent of its value in a week. (Viniar fell right into the ‘protest too much’ category. His entire comment, which began with “This is not a rescue,” continued with the insistence that they think it’s an investment opportunity because the bottom of the crisis has been reached. He closed the statement by repeating, “It is both of those things but not a rescue.”

The Wall Street Journal Online, “Goldman Wagers on Cash Infusion to Show Resolve,” August 14, 2007

 

I know that I would not engage in a cover-up. I have never been involved in a cover-up,” former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld told a congressional committee investigating the military’s response to the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. (In an example of what we call ‘inverted speech,’ Rumsfeld said, “I know the gentlemen sitting next to me are men of enormous integrity.” He should have stuck to the positive comment.)

The Associated Press, “Rumsfeld denies Tillman cover-up,” August 1, 2007

 

I was intentionally evasive. Lying was never an option for me, so I called it a ‘medical intervention,’ which was true,” admitted Star Jones who had claimed she lost weight by dieting and exercise and denying she had a gastric bypass. (Jones also said, “It was a pathetic attempt to tell the only truth I could handle at the time.”  The problem with this is that it compromises her credibility on much more important issues, and being “intentionally evasive” looks an awful lot like lying.)

USA Today, “Star Jones: It wasn’t Pilates after all,” July 31, 2007

 

It may sound stupid, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Sherry Abney, an attorney promoting alternatives to litigation. (Stick to “it’s the right thing to do.” As Mark Twain said, “you’ll amaze some people and astonish the rest.”)

The Dallas Business Journal, “ADLib,” August 17-23, 2007

 

I’m not going to be ridiculous in my pricing,” said retailer Christopher Crawford about his new furniture store importing goods from China. (He also said, “I want to make it available to as many people as possible.” Lesson: stick to positive quotes and avoid inverted speech.)

The Dallas Business Journal, “Startup plans to bring Asian furniture to Big D,” August 17-19, 2007

“WE ARE NOT EVIL,” is the tagline or slogan for music download site, Magnatune.com.

(I know I’m out of my area of expertise, but this wouldn’t be my choice.)

www.magnatune.com

 

EXAMPLES OF GOOD QUOTES BUT A QUESTIONABLE STRATEGY

I would like to say to my mom I’m sorry for what she has had to go through in this most trying of times. It has caused pain to my family and I apologize to my family,” said Atlanta Falcon’s quarterback, Michael Vick, in response to allegations that he funded and ran a vicious dog fighting operation. (After an energetic insistence that he was not involved, one week later, Vick agreed to a plea deal. The proximity of the deal with his insistence to the public, the NFL, the Falcon’s owner and coach that he was innocent, effectively ruins his credibility. This has got to be an example of bad legal advice and bad life advice. In addition, we think the NAACP will regret injecting itself into the controversy when it urged that Vick be allowed to return to the NFL and said that Vick was being treated more harshly than athletes who had done worse things.)

The Associated Press, “Atlanta NAACP: After Sentence, Let Quarterback Michael Vick Return to NFL, Preferably Falcons,” August 22, 2007

MSNBC.com, “Vick Pleads Innocent To Dog fighting Charges,” July 27, 2007

 

We do not believe the bondholders are nice people. We’re a Houston-based company, and the bondholders have no regard for anybody other than themselves. They strictly see this as an economic opportunity to take advantage of,” said Steve Scheinthal, general counsel for Landry’s about a dispute with bondholders who called $400 million in notes after Landry’s didn’t file a 2006 annual report.

The Houston Chronicle, “Landry’s Option Backdating Scandal,” August 2, 2007

 

MOST INARTICULATE

Donny Deutsch may be the host of “The Big Idea” and have his own advertising agency, but he was completely inarticulate on NBC talking about a Stanford University study finding that young children were more likely to eat food if it were in a McDonald’s package. Another guest said the study showed that corporations were undermining parental authority. Deutsch replied, “Of course, they – by the way, if corporations weren’t – I’m not here to defend the evil empire of business. If corporations weren’t responsible to customers, most of them would be out of business. This is insane. Wait a second. It is the parent’s responsibility. You – I don’t know a person who is going to all of a sudden abdicate their responsibilities. You’re a parent. Is there any McDonald’s Corporation or any other corporation that’s going to tell you to do with –what – your children?

NBC News Transcripts, The Today Show, August 8, 2007

 

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT

In the August Bimbo, we featured Laurence Socci, head of a D.C. lobbying firm, who drew criticism for saying he would “represent the devil himself if the price was right,” adding “Of course, I wouldn’t do anything illegal.”  We pointed out that Mr. Socci was defending two PR firms who were trapped into enthusiastically laying out a campaign on behalf of Turkmenistan, one of the most oppressive countries with a terrible human rights record. Mr. Socci sent us the following email: “It’s obvious that you know very little, if anything about the lobbying profession, which was the context of my statement.” (Of course, I know a lot about lobbying. That’s the point. It’s not like legal representation where, in this country, one has a right to a vigorous defense and is innocent until proven guilty. Saying blatantly that values, morals and believing one’s client are irrelevant only depicts all lobbyists as whores. Mr. Socci might want to check out Send: the essential guide to Email for Office and Home, just published by the deputy editorial page editor of The New York Times. Check out their website, www.thinkbeforeyousend.com.)

 

GOOD QUOTE EXAMPLE

I think people can drive the interstates, go over the bridges, with a reasonable degree of confidence,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell when asked about the bridge collapse in Minnesota and whether Pennsylvania drivers were in danger. (The governor struck the right note, truthful but encouraging.)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Network and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Collapse adds urgency to Pa. debate,” August 3, 2007 



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