Murdoch, Think Before You Tweet!

 Murdoch, Think Before You Tweet!

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Rupert Murdoch.

When it comes to controversial tweets or scandalous emails, one of the more predictable cries from the media is to ask, what was this person thinking? Every smarty-pants commentator let’s us know: Nothing is private, all is public. Don’t write it if you don’t want it on the front page.

Apparently, media mogul Rupert Murdoch hasn’t been listening; he just learned his humiliating lesson in the world of social media the hard way. His Twitter followers were presumably puzzled by his Tweet this past Sunday that accused the “Jewish owned press” of favoring Gaza over Israel in news coverage concerning the latest military action. He asked his followers, which number over 360,000, “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?”

Immediately, the commentators were wondering who could Rupert have been referring to. In previous Tweets, Murdoch complained of  “CNN and AP bias to point of embarrassment.” But as neither are “Jewish owned,” the comments seemed genuinely confusing. The wider consensus is that The New York Times, his US foe in the newspaper world, was the target. But the mystery now looks like it will never be solved.  Murdoch apologized unreservedly, describing his Tweet as “awkward and inappropriate,” adding he should not have brought in “irrelevant and incorrect ethnic matters.” Case closed.

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for one of the world’s leading media tycoons. However, it’s touching to realize that even a media mogul can get social media wrong.

The PR Takeaway: Press “pause” before “send.” The Murdoch incident is a flash in the PR pan, but it does show that even the most experienced media practitioners can get it very wrong. What’s obvious with the benefit of hindsight is sometimes not obvious at the time. Murdoch might want someone in his entourage to check Tweets before sending them; this is not a one-on-one conversation, after all. Take note, Wendi.

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Ahmadinejad Courts Satan’s Media

 Ahmadinejad Courts Satans Media

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for yet another loony Ahmadinejad appearance at the UN.

Do the rules of PR apply to President Ahmadinejad of Iran? In New York for the UN Summit, he has participated in a dizzying media blitz of interviews including CNN, CBS, the AP, and other national outlets. The Iranian President, who has previously described the US as “Satan,” seems oddly keen to court domestic US opinion, or at the very least, take advantage of Great Satan’s media.

His scheduled interviews appeared to be part of a typical PR curtain raiser, designed to drum up anticipation for his speech before the UN. He told CNN and other outlets that his main message is that he wants “a new world order for all of humanity.”

Ahmadinejad describes this new world order as a world where there is “justice, morality, purity, and compassion.” He can’t help mentioning that this utopia would ultimately involve the “elimination” of Israel, although he softened his message by saying he would be neutral on the issue of his child marrying a Jew. If Ahmadinejad’s intention was to court US opinion – and why else talk to all the outlets – his messaging was clearly irreconcilable with most US mainstream views.

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for yet another loony Ahmadinejad appearance at the UN, buttressed by a thorough PR blitz that guaranteed coverage while doing nothing to enhance credibility.

The PR Takeaway: The most basic PR lesson is “Without trust, nothing works.” Ahmadinejad said in multiple US interviews that he would “not dismiss” one-on-one talks with America on his nuclear program and that he was open to negotiation. If his PR intention was to soften US domestic opinion,  then his PR offensive was a resounding failure. As long as he continues to trade in his grab bag of hate names and villains, then his PR blitz only reinforces the perception that he is not to be trusted, notwithstanding his plea at the UN to “hold hands with all of humanity.”

Have you heard the Iranian President’s speech at the UN? Give us your PR Verdict!

Getting Naked with John Travolta

johntravolta Getting Naked with John Travolta

The PR Verdict: “B” for Travolta who was quick with a robust and unequivocal denial.

What else is there to know about John Travolta and his genitals?  According to a thrillingly prurient and detailed lawsuit filed by an unnamed masseur at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the public now knows more than it ever expected.  After recovering from allegedly being groped by the iconic star, the distressed masseur is now suing Travolta for damages.

Seeking $2 million (what might have been claimed if they went all the way?) the masseur’s filing (his name has been withheld) gives a minute-by-minute retelling.  He claims Travolta’s erect penis is approximately 8 inches in length and his pubic hair is “wirey (sic) and unkempt.”  Travolta, on being rebuffed, yelled “Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.”   Undoubtedly an odd response… but bring on the headlines!  They’re guaranteed!

Team Travolta responded with indignation and anger. “Untrue!”  and “False!”   None of the events claimed ever occurred, said his rep.  Besides, Travolta wasn’t in LA at the time of the alleged incident.   The rep said they would fight it and once thrown out, cross sue the masseur for malicious prosecution.   But hold on!  Now a second masseur has come out and joined the Californian lawsuit, claiming Travolta made similar moves at a hotel room in Atlanta.

The PR Verdict: “B” for team Travolta who were quick off the mark with a robust and unequivocal denial. Credibility is going to be strained though if additional complainants join the lawsuit.

PR Takeaway:  As complicating facts emerge it becomes tougher to stick with flat out denials and indignation.   Why not feign indifference?  What a frivolous and cynical lawsuit!  We have handed it to our lawyers.  Point out that Travolta wasn’t even there on the night in question while conceding agreement on three points: the masseur is suing for $2 million in damages, he never approached the police and he filed his opportunistic complaint anonymously.  Next question?

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Who would you place money on? Team Travolta or the Masseur.

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