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Monthly Archives: September 2012

‘Matt, Matt, Matt … you’re glib’ – What do you think?

Posted by Arthur Yann in PRSAY November   2nd 2011

Who could forget Tom Cruise’s notorious response to Today show host Matt Lauer, when Lauer asked Cruise whether nor not he had considered the possibility that the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug Ritalin — the use of which Cruise opposes — might actually work for some people.

Well, Lauer was again at his glib best Tuesday (Nov. 1) in an interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. The producers of Today invited Mr. Schultz on air to discuss the launch of a program through which Starbucks, with the Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN), is accepting donations for the Create Jobs for USA Fund in every U.S.-based, company-operated Starbucks.

According to the Starbucks news release, the program works like this: Donations to the Fund, which has been seeded with a $5 million contribution from the Starbucks Foundation, will help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities throughout the United States. The Fund, managed by OFN, will pool donations from Starbucks customers, employees and others. Donors who contribute $5 or more receive a red, white and blue wristband emblazoned with the message “Indivisible.”

First, Lauer (claiming to represent the “cynicism” bred by “tough times”), asked if this wasn’t just some evil scheme to sell more pumpkin-spice lattes. “The guy [Schultz] wants to do good, he wants to create jobs,” Lauer began. “But one of the other reasons behind this is because, if you don’t have a job, you can’t afford a $4 cup of coffee.”

Schultz, to his credit, didn’t take the bait. “I can assure you,” he replied, “this is nothing about marketing. This is our responsibility as a company, and recognizing that we as business leaders should not and cannot wait for Washington … businesses and business leaders have to do more.”

So, if it’s not about selling more coffee, Lauer reasoned, then it must be about generating positive press. “You say it’s not about PR,” Lauer moaned, “but it sounds a little like a PR campaign.”

Schultz again showed himself to be a skilled communicator with the keen ability to stay on message. “Not about PR,” he said, “It’s about Starbucks using its scale for good … about a problem in America and the fact that business and business leaders have to step up. We can’t wait for Washington. This is about leadership.”

The problem with Lauer’s glib characterization of the Starbucks initiative as some sort of public relations “ploy” was elucidated brilliantly by Karen S. Miller in her article, “Public Relations in Film and Fiction,” which originally appeared in the Journal of Public Relations Research.

“The problem with an inadequate discussion of the work of PR is … that the audience is left with two opposing and equally deficient views,” said Miller. “Sometimes, PR is magic, which only a magician with secret knowledge can perform, while audience members wonder how they have been tricked. In other sources, it is almost embarrassingly easy — a phone call or a cocktail with a reporter is all it takes. Neither view explains the PR process, and because strategies and tactics are unexplored, practitioners’ effectiveness seems ominous.”

Beyond that, Lauer’s tone was dismissive and pejorative toward an entire profession, and discourteous toward a guest the producers invited into the homes of millions of viewers. I wonder if Lauer engages his own public relations professionals and, if so, what they would think.

What do you think?

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Propaganda

According to dictionary.com the first definition of propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.  The second definition is the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.  And lastly the third is, the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.  I believe that pitching “Obamacare” on prime time television shows is considered propaganda.  I think Obama and the people that support Obama are just trying to get this out there to the people to gain support for Obama.  Somewhat of an enlightened self interest.  I believe that the needs of the American people should be of the utmost importance and I feel as if Obama and hid followers are just trying to gain support and steam to succeed in the upcoming election instead of putting the needs of the American people first.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

TV networks asked to include promos for ObamaCare in top-rated shows–Is this propganda?

There are reality shows about being cast away on a desert island, swapping spouses, and running a restaurant. So why not a reality show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage”?

It’s one of the possibilities being run up the proverbial flagpole in Hollywood by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. The marketing powerhouse has signed a $900,000 contract with an ObamaCare exchange in preparation for California’s planned exercise of the law next year, writes Newsbusters’ Tim Graham.

Graham cites a New York Times article by Abby Goodnough that proudly announces in its headline “California Tries to Guide the Way on Health Law.” (Gosh, you gotta love those Golden State lawmakers, always on “the cutting edge,” so to speak, as they were with their passage of a ban on circumcisions, a statewide DREAM Act, and a law forcing schools to teach gay history.)

As home to the de facto headquarters of America’s television industry, California is a made-in-heaven venue for promoting the virtues of a law so pernicious in its overreach that 53% of likely U.S. voters still favor its repeal.

“Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm,” Goodnough writes, “the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan.” The ambitious plan seeks to “have prime-time television shows, like ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.”

But that’s not all. The efforts to reach to the legions of the uninsured will be translated into “dozens of languages” and extended beyond the small screen. Expect the praises of the health care law to be sung on “coffee cup sleeves” and “at professional soccer matches to reach young Hispanic men.”

About that 900K being paid out to Ogilvy: In case you’re wondering where the cash was coming from, the answer out of your and other taxpayers’ pockets.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Chicago Teacher’s Strike? EVERYONE PANIC!

With the Chicago Public School teachers strike hitting its fourth day on Thursday, some of the parents of the affected students are looking into alternatives to public school. The conflict started Monday when the school district and the teacher’s union failed to reach a deal that would give teachers benefits they believed they deserved. The strike has created tensions in the district, the third largest in the nation. Parents of the more than 350,000 children are scrambling to find alternatives to the public school system. Many are looking into charter and private schools. What could be the real big problem with the strike is the effects it could have on the rest of the nation. The reason the teachers are striking is because they want reform, which is something that many teachers from around the nation are dealing with. The longer the strike goes on, the higher a chance that more and more teacher’s unions around the nation will strike. Teacher’s around the US are watching Chicago to see what the outcome of this conflict could be.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Chicago Strike

Recently Chicago teachers went on strike against a school system willing to put thousands out of a job.  They are striking because the schools want to start basing teacher evaluations on their students standardized test scores.  While this might sound like an effective way to judge teachers and their ability to teach students the material necessary to succeed academically it also does not account for environmental and social factors.  Some students could come from lower income households and have different situations that prevent them from focusing on academics thereby forcing them to achieve less than optimal grades.  This then affects the teachers and makes the board of whatever school district think that they are not worth the money to pay them and so the teacher is out of work.  The problem though with this strike is that it affects the students more than the teachers.  Around 350,000 students are and have been out of the classroom for almost 8 days now.  If the teachers want to keep their grassroots appeal they need to at least alleviate the problem of kids being out of school or they will lose support of the communities involved.  With the president currently running for election it would be in his best interest to try to save as many of these teaching jobs as possible.  A higher unemployment rate is not appealing to voters let alone unemployment in education.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Rebellion!

The teachers of the Chicago area school district are going on strike, affecting over 400,000 students and nearly 700 schools (according to CPS), due to unfair contracts, unbearable working conditions, etc. These activities are causing a multitude of conflicts between students, parents, teachers, politicians, and many more! With students needing classes to attend, parents are struggling to sign them up for online schools, home school, among other means to teach their children. With a new evaluation system in the plans for the future, there would be nearly 6,000 teachers jobs cut, which in all honesty is something to strike about. Not only is the strike affecting educating students, but according to economists, the drastic 26,000 teachers and support staff who are striking will affect the annual job report dramatically, which in turn could make President Obama look bad and sway the vote for the up and coming 2012 election.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Strike in Chicago

The recent teachers’ strike in Chicago has created an extreme amount of tension and unrest in the nation’s third largest school district.  Parents are now racing frantically to provide their children with some alternative form of child care.  According to the New York Times, 350,000 children are currently without classes and with the tension between the teachers union and  Mayor Rahm Emanuel continuing to rise, no clear end seems to be in sight. What makes this situation even more interesting is how this political standoff may effect the upcoming presidential election.  First, the strike is taking place in President Obama’s hometown.  In addition,  Rahm Emanuel is former Chief of Staff to President Obama.  It will be intriuging and interesting to see if this standoff is resolved or maybe it will effect the upcoming election if the conflict is prolonged and has no resolution.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized