PR Winner: “A” (PR Perfect) to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who was asked to testify on Capital Hill following a recent report that excoriated Apple as a tax dodger, parking profits offshore and not owning up to its domestic tax obligations. Tim Cook was just humble and conciliatory enough while pressing the larger point that the present tax code needs urgent reform to wipe out gaping loopholes. This was bait and switch at its best. Before anyone could reboot his or her iPad he had the Senate’s Permanent Committee on Investigation eating out of his hand. “I love Apple,” exclaimed one enthusiastic member as the hearing wore on. Tim Cook and Apple’s senior management presumably slept soundly that night.
PR Loser: “F” (Full Fiasco) to Lois Lerner who pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination at the recent hearing on the ongoing IRS fracas. Leading the IRS’s division on tax- exempt organizations she arrived for what was always going to be a hostile and partisan hearing. Lerner began by protesting her innocence saying she had “done nothing wrong,” (fair enough) but then after delivering what seemed like an opening statement pleaded the Fifth Amendment and refrained from further comment. Is it really okay for a paid government employee to refuse to answer questions from Congress? It’s muddy water certainly, but making your case and then pleading the Fifth sounds rather like having your cake and eating it. Bon Apetit.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO: Kim Kardashian and the ongoing coverage of her problematic relationship with singer Kanye West. This week In Touch featured heavily pregnant Kim on its cover claiming she is humiliated by rumors that her baby’s father has a secret boyfriend in Paris (with supporting photograph). Is Kanye West gay asked the article? This is apparently Kim’s “greatest fear.” In Touch had a picture of the rumored French boyfriend while OK Magazine went 180 degrees and broke news in the opposite direction. Describing itself as the only magazine “with the real story,” it insisted in breathless detail that Kim and Kanye are “happier then ever” and plan to elope to Paris. No doubt about it, claims OK Magazine. At this point either Kim or Kanye’s PR should set the record straight.