Has Rush Limbaugh Gone Too Far?

 Has Rush Limbaugh Gone Too Far?

PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Rush Limbaugh.

While it may seem that there is nothing politically conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh won’t say, his recent rant against Pope Francis may have just crossed a line.

On his radio show, Limbaugh railed against the Pope’s recent 50,000-word Evangelii Gaudium, or “The Joy of the Gospel,” in which the pontiff laid out his interpretation of the Catholic Church’s mission. Pope Francis urged his followers to relinquish obsessions with issues like same-sex marriage and contraception and instead return to the fundamentals, e.g. helping the poor. He denounced “the idolatry of money” and criticized “trickle-down economics …[which] expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.”

The Pope’s words thrilled many Catholics who have felt the church has strayed from its core values. But his clear dig at more capitalist societies irked others, including Limbaugh. In typical fiery style, he called the Pope’s views “pure Marxism” and said the Holy See was “dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong.” He also struck a paranoid note, wondering if someone “got to him” (God, perhaps?).

A sticky wicket for Limbaugh. His listeners are conservative, but so are many Catholics –  and a lot of Catholics really, really like their new Pope. Is Limbaugh really asking his fans to pick sides?

PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Rush Limbaugh, who risks alienating an important segment of his fan base.

PR TAKEAWAY: Even if your job is to be controversial,  avoid sacred cows. Indeed, Limbaugh seemed to acknowledge as much, saying “I gotta be very careful” during his tirade. We know how much Rush hates to be referred to as “an entertainer,” but the truth is that’s exactly what he is, and insulting a wildly popular Pope is about as PR un-savvy as it gets. Rush doesn’t have to endorse everything that Pope Francis says, but he would be wise to temper his papal tirades – lest he find some of his flock straying.

Are the Brothers Trump the New Hemingway?

TRUMPHUNTING1 Are the Brothers Trump the New Hemingway?

The PR Verdict: “C” for the Brothers Trump response to PeTA.

Are the sons of Donald Trump following in the steps of Papa Hemmingway as big game hunters? The two brothers are caught up in a fight with PeTA, the animal rights group which seized on photographs of the two brothers vacationing on safari in Africa.

These were not poolside snaps of the brothers drunk on margaritas. The sons of “The Donald” were photographed in numerous poses including standing next to the corpse of a crocodile and in another, standing by a dead elephant while holding its bloody tail.  The brothers seem often to be wearing matching safari wear.

PeTA, the animal rights group, ever vigilant, seized on the photos for PR purposes.  Using it as an occasion to decry hunting and those who love it, PeTA got the media splash it was looking for.  The Trump brothers responded unambiguously that they have always loved hunting and will continue to do so.  From their point of view no apology was needed.  Like father, like son.

The PR Verdict:  “C” for the Brothers Trump and their new found fame as game hunters. Rush Limbaugh taught us that apologies don’t work unless you mean it and with the probability that another safari photo could easily surface, a clarifying statement was the best way to go.

The brothers issued a straightforward statement saying they have always loved hunting and on this occasion took care to observe local rules and practices. Trump Senior side-stepped the issue saying that he supported his sons and their passion for hunting, even if it is not for him personally.  In so doing Trump senior  got himself out of PeTA’s cross hairs and kept his own conservative gun loving base of fans relatively happy.  Smart move for the father while the sons can continue hunting unimpeded.

To read more about this click here and here.

How would you rate the Trump’s handling of this? Would Papa Hemingway be proud?

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Rush Limbaugh vs Sandra Fluke: No Hard Feelings Sandra?

limbaugh31 300x225 Rush Limbaugh vs Sandra Fluke: No Hard Feelings Sandra?

The PR Verdict: “F” for an apology that isn’t.

Rush Limbaugh, the notoriously polemical radio talk show host, yielded to public pressure Saturday.  He issued a public apology to law student Sandra Fluke who he had previously called a “slut” and a “prostitute” during his radio program. Limbaugh conceded in his apology that his  “choice of words was not the best.”  No hard feelings then, Sandra?

Fluke had previously testified to Democrats on a House committee about health care plans. Limbaugh objected to her testimony, which supported compelling her college to offer health plans that cover her birth control.

Reactions to Limbaugh’s broadcast comments were swift and intense. All could smell PR blood. President Obama called Fluke to offer his support (and made that public), while no less than six major advertisers have suspended advertising.

The PR Verdict: “F” for an apology that isn’t. In PR terms this was not an effective apology. At best, it was a clarifying statement.

Public apologies are never easy. The golden PR rule: State clearly what you are apologizing for, and then stop talking. Reinforce the apology with an unexpected action and save self-serving and mitigating factors for day two. Limbaugh would have gotten more mileage by inviting Fluke on his show to make her case rather than launching back into his arguments, as he did with his apology. Fluke still has the upper PR hand and advertisers haven’t changed their decision to withdraw. Sometimes it’s hard to say you’re sorry.

To read the full apology click here and to read more about his click here

What’s your PR verdict on Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke? Give us your grade:

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