PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who marked the third anniversary of the mass shooting that killed six of her constituents and left her in critical condition, with a different kind of death-defying, life-affirming act. Last Wednesday, Giffords, now heading a national gun control group with her husband, Mark Kelly, while continuing to inspire all with her painstaking, courageous rehabilitation from her injuries, paired up with a Navy SEAL for a tandem skydive over the Arizona desert. Giffords, whose injuries left her with sharply impaired speech, told an interviewer the stunt could speak for her. And what was the message? “I’m alive,” she said.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’s trying to speed away from a PR disaster. After months of denying allegations that his office intentionally caused traffic jams in a town whose mayor didn’t endorse Christie, emails surfaced this week suggesting members of the governor’s inner circle did just that. In an emergency press conference, Christie fired one staffer, distanced himself from another and described himself as blindsided and humiliated. But the PR damage to the potential presidential hopeful is done: Either he knew about the antics and lied about them, or he didn’t know but is incompetent and obtuse enough to surround himself with vindictive bullies. The question for Christie is whether this PR stain will wash out by 2016.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to Dennis Rodman, former NBA basketball star, now self-appointed envoy to North Korea. As shown in the basketball game organized by Rodman, his skills on the court still far outweigh those of the ambassador he fancies himself as being. On this latest visit, Rodman insinuated that Kenneth Bae, a political prisoner held by North Korea since 2012, did something to deserve his sentence of 15 years of hard labor. Rodman’s empty apology, made via his publicist, was that he’d been drinking – something that, were he not Kim Jong Un’s bestie, might have landed him in a position to apologize to Bae directly.