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.

To read more, click here.

Guess Who Confessed To Hacking Again?

Phone hacking1 Guess Who Confessed To Hacking Again?

The PR Verdict: "F" for Murdoch and public interest

Fancy that!  BSKYB the television broadcaster has fessed up to phone hacking.  Is the latest revelation from another Murdoch controlled news organization all that surprising?

Besides being astonishingly embarrassing for Murdoch, it follows on the heels of his son James’s resignation from BSKYB and increases scrutiny on a proprietor who has broken his trust with the public.  The circumstances of the cases were detailed by BSKYB,  who while acknowledging that hacking was illegal, said it was authorized by the News Editor to benefit the public interest.  SKY thundered this illegal act was only done under strict rules and for a specific purpose.  No need for us to worry then.

Next time it may be less of a hassle to simply hand over the file to the police to avoid these sorts of problems.

The PR Verdict: “F” for Murdoch (yet again) and his newly found PR strategy of claiming protection by way of public interest.  Is there any thing else to confess while we are here?

Cloaking the issue in the mantle of public interest has inherent risks.  Since when has society broadly consented to giving editors carte blanche to break the law?  Without defining the “public interest” served in this case, the waters are now muddied.  Why not simply say they were all errors of judgment?  Far simpler given the pattern and volume across Murdoch based businesses.

To read more click here.

What is your verdict? Is claiming the public interest a good PR strategy?

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Why Are Three Little Pigs Advertising a Newspaper?


littlepiggies Why Are Three Little Pigs Advertising a Newspaper?

The PR Verdict: “C” for the Guardian and its advertising launch.

The famous nursery tale of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf isn’t normally what the Guardian newspaper of the UK is traditionally associated with. But in a puzzling advertisement, the tale of the three little pigs forms the cornerstone of the Guardian’s new campaign. The wolf is murdered by three little pigs in a setting that resembles the ongoing financial crisis.

The campaign’s intent is to increase awareness that the Guardian is more than just a newspaper. Leading with its proposition of “open journalism”, the thrust is that news is now participatory, including web, print, tablet and mobile and that readers have the opportunity to shape any story.

The commercial ends with a surprising twist and while borrowing from a nursery tale is a clever idea, the concept sits oddly with the newspaper’s established track record.

The PR Verdict: “C” for the Guardian and its advertising launch. Credibility is a serious newspaper’s key brand attribute.  Is it wise to jettison it in favor of a nursery story?

This positioning seems unnecessary for a news organization with a proven track record. Given the Guardian prides itself on its landmark news stories, including Wiki leaks and most recently the Murdoch phone hacking scandal, using  three little pigs is at best confusing. With such an impressive track record, why make something up?  What is the next step in a campaign like this; the assassination of Humpty Dumpty?

To see the adverstisement click here. To read what the Guardian says about its campaign click here and for more on “open journalism” click here.

How would you grade this campaign. Tell us your view:

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