PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to Vladimir Putin for maneuvering himself into a crucial leadership position in the Syrian crisis. First, the Russian president commandeered US Secretary of State John Kerry’s offhand proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons to avoid a military strike. While Kerry offered the option as an unlikely possibility, Putin seized it and turned it into a workable option, forcing President Obama to delay his request to Congress to consider military action. Putin followed that up with an editorial in The New York Times, pressing his case directly to the American people. Over the past week, the Russian president more firmly positioned Moscow as a key player in international management of not only Syria, but broader issues in the Middle East.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Pax Dickinson, whose sexist, racist tweets cost him as his job last week as CTO at Business Insider, the business and tech news website. Tech site Valleywag called Dickinson out Monday, citing offensive postings on his personal Twitter feed that go back years. He was gone the next day. Dickinson has tweeted choice words for – well, just about everyone who’s not a white heterosexual male. “Tech managers spend as much time worrying about how to hire talented female developers as they do worrying about how to hire a unicorn,” read one of his tamer rants, from 2012. Maybe he thought a disclaimer on his account, “Unprofessional opinions not endorsed by anyone respectable,” lent cover for his off-hours “brogrammer” to roam free. But that’s not how that Interweb thingy works, as surely any CTO should know.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to the media, for taking James Franco’s “I wish I was gay” quote out of context. The media lives for a celebrity like Franco, who does something provocative almost every month. He’s gone from actor to performance artist, keeping the world guessing as to whether he’s serious about attending several universities – simultaneously – doing art installations, and appearing on a soap opera as a villain named (what else?) James Franco. The man was ripe for a celebrity roast, during which several of his comedian friends joked about his sexuality. Franco’s response: “I get asked about it from all sides… It’s not something that bothers me in the slightest. I don’t even care if people think I’m gay. I mean, I wish I was gay.” Franco was trying to de-stigmatize questions about sexuality, but the press pounced and turned the quote into exactly the sort of sensationalism that Franco, a sensational showman, was trying to avoid.