PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) TO Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who calmly and methodically schooled three CNBC-TV news hosts on financial industry regulation last week. In a live interview that was widely circulated and rebroadcast on the web, the business-friendly network’s hosts challenged Warren’s advocacy for reinstating Depression-era banking regulations that sought to protect consumers by segregating investment and commerical bank activities. The senator patiently but determinedly parried every criticism and counter-argument the CNBC team raised. She brooked no quarter, easily carrying the debate with her command of the facts and professorial gravitas. She made three business experts look like students in an entry-level economics class, and kept it all business, nothing personal.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Rolling Stone Magazine. Outrage greeted a cover that seems to give Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the rock star treatment usually reserved for the musicians who grace the magazine’s cover. RS editors quickly said that illustrates the article’s point, asking how “a bright kid with a charming future became a monster.” The point was perhaps a bit too sharp; with the public’s feelings still raw from the attack, the hashtag #BoycottRollingStone spread like wildfire through Twitter, and convenience chains CVS, Walgreens, and Tedeschi Food Shops refused to carry the issue. Sensationalism doesn’t guarantee sales, especially if people can’t buy the issue.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO US House Republicans, who voted for the 38th time last week to repeal the sweeping national healthcare reform that is President Obama’s signature domestic achievement. (Or was it Vote No. 39? Even legislators can’t keep it straight.) The one-house vote is meaningless – the Senate will never take up repeal in a serious way – and wags in Washington and elsewhere turned to Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result) to characterize the Kabuki political theatrics. Republican persistence is defended as an attempt to permanently taint Obamacacre in the public’s mind, eventually leading to its downfall. But outside the halls of Congress, it mostly looks pointless and futile.