“Balk the enemy’s power; force him to reveal himself.” Sun Tzu
(this will take some rehearsal, but it will be totally worth it)
Step 1) During a live televised debate, while Trump is in mid-sentence, Jeb! slowly, painfully, dramatically turns toward Donald J. Trump and says, “is that a sexual euphemism?”. The twittersphere would start asking, “what did Trump say that Bush heard as a naughty innuendo, a filthy double entendre, a salacious foe paw? The press, who live and breath in Twitter ether, would pick it up and start asking the same question – “what perverted thing did Trump say that we missed that Jeb! got?” At the same time, live on stage, Trump would be, “wha? wtf? sexual euphemism? What kind of perverted mind do you have? euphemism? This Yale flunkie is using big words he doesn’t know the meaning of (translation: Trump doesn’t). etc.,” and the debate would continue because Trump will want to talk, talk, talk, talk… about himself.
Step 2) An hour or so later, after the toss away “sexual euphemism” question had time to percolate in the partisans’ and pundits’ forever-questioning minds (with veiled tactical help from digital allies), when reporters finally have Jeb! cornered, at least ONE reporter will have to ask, “what sexual euphemism were you referring to, Governor Bush?” That’s when Jeb! gets Trumpesque and gives back cold what we’ve all been getting served piping hot for months. Jeb! calmly lights up a political cheap shot fatty and takes a big, glowing hit of misdirection and spin like a boss:
“With all the scandals about women, his abusing them, the violence, the misogyny, the “beauty pageants” (Jeb! air quotes for emphasis), the bankruptcies, references to menstruation, shutting down the Internet – it’s hard to know what he means. Not even Al Gore knows what he means. He’ll kill entire families? Including grandparents and cousins? Just Muslim families or would he take out Mexican families, too? You know, it’s reported he’s a terrible cheater in golf. Uses the young boys like in Caddyshack. Just like in politics, he’s a hacker wannabe in a Rolls Royce golf cart. If he had to play an honest links game, Obama would humiliate him on the front and back nine – even his own casinos would give the President odds. Okay – let’s call it a misunderstanding. But that’s the problem isn’t it? Who can believe a word he says? (MIKE DROP – END INTERVIEW!).
Step 3) Jeb’s staff immediately supplies reporters with a five page list, single spaced and numbered just like a legal document so that reporters can reference the allegation easier, of all the lies he’s told that starts with a fucking “bone spur” in his fucking foot so he could get a fucking medical deferment – after already getting several education deferments to attend his daddy-payed-for private military prep school – so he wouldn’t be drafted to fight in Vietnam, the fucking pussyshit chickenhawk racist son-of-a-bitch. After denigrating a genuine war hero, a man who put his own life on the line in the skies of North Viet Nam fighting for his country, who made Americans proud in his conduct as a prisoner of war subject to inhuman tortue, Donald J. Trump would just as quickly leave his “buddies” in a rice paddy foxhole alone than even join the fucking U.S. Coast Guard. That’s our nation’s Republican Party today. Tawdry.
If an American only needs one reason why Hillary is more qualified to be President of the United States and Commander-In-Chief, it’s Trump.
Here’s where The Donald and I agree. The Republican candidates for president are piles of putrefying American bald eagle guano if they can’t take him out and certainly don’t deserve to be their party’s nominee. While tough-talking former federal prosecutor Christy can shout down a political enemy in a news conference, he’s still not a heavy-enough hitter to shut down The Donald. I call that false advertising. It’s nice to see Fiorina get in some jabs, but everyone and their mother knows the failed corporate titan/senate candidate is no match for a Clinton. Like them or hate them, Clintons eat up little trolls like her for lunch. Rubio? He can’t even show up much less get in the ring. Cruz? Straw man walking! Do I even have to describe Dr. Carson? Okay – political malpractice, for God’s sake. A Surgeon General appointment if he’s lucky. Nobody else counts except the most qualified – Senator Graham. There, I said it. He can’t win, but he’d be the best president of the Hardy Boys and girl.
No, Trump is going down uuuuuuuuuuuge but it won’t be by the Republicans. They don’t have a party left. Like so many badass rebel factions fighting al-Assad’s army, Republicans have plenty of guns but no real power, much less authority, to lead. Proof: they soundly criticize the Pentegon and the President and will debate bombing ISIS for two hours on cable TV, but can’t lift their index finger enough to vote in Congress to authorize the use of military force. Apparently, their responsibility hasn’t gotten out of committee, yet. That’s America’s definition of leadership? It’s like back-seat driving an Indy car – turn left, left, left. Go faster, faster, faster! Pit! Pit! Pit!
I blame the Democrats. In specific, I blame Obama’s two campaigns against the Republicans that splintered them into fragments. This isn’t good for our nation’s political health. We are better with a viable two-party system that balances one another through compromise and patriotism. But, it’s the price we are paying for Democrats winning the White House.
It’s not like it doesn’t come with a few perks.
- Osama bin Ladin is having caviar with Sponge Bob at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, for starters.
- We aren’t in a global economic freefall. That’s something.
- We argue tirelessly over how four Americans were murdered by terrorists in a distant outpost in North Africa instead of solemnly burying three thousands of our fellow citizens because we didn’t take a PDB titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike U.S” seriously enough.
- We have an American automobile industry.
- Nobody redecorated the White House in gold leaf. Yet.
That said, imagine if Romney were president and he had imposed on him (because even a Republican president can’t get bills through the Congress) Tea Party policies – again. War with somebody – anybody, really – and blithely carefree spending mostly made up of draconian social austerity and inflated defense budgets. Thank you, but no thank you – I’ll take my Obama medicine rather than catch neocon fever again. Clinton vs. Trump. It’ll be uuuuuuuuuuuuuge.
Please note: Top photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images from SLATE article “On energy, Republican candidates sound a lot like Obama.” by Eric Holthaus.
On the day of the “fiscal cliff/sequestration” deadline, President Obama chose to give a lengthy interview on Meet The Press with David Gregory. One of the key features of Modern Publicity is timing. This is a perfect example of the use of timing to send a message, generate buzz and shape public opinion.
For the rest of the day and beyond, Democratic and Republican Party spokespersons repeated the talking points on the amazingly insatiable cable news message machines as part of a premeditated, coordinated legislative battle plan. Truth be told, we’re also part of the game – especially the “most likely” (to vote) independent voters – who politicians seek to charm as if they’re all lonely girls at final call.
A fascinating read is the Meet The Press LiveBlog – essentially an NBC White House Reporters’ RSS feed. Anyone (you don’t have to be a highly-paid network news blogger) can set up the same feed up by using #MTP Twitter search and following these personalities:
- @davidgregory is David’s personal account.
- @meetthepress is the show account. Follow for video, insights, behind the scenes photos, more.
- @betsymtp is executive producer Betsy Fischer’s personal account.
- @AdamVerdugo is senior producer Adam Verdugo”s personal account.
- @MTPGuest is our account to send out the latest Sunday guest info.
Read the Press Pass Blog for an excellent comprehensive recap. I prefer Facebook comments; lots of good give-and-take. The best roundtable comment for publicists was made by presidential historian and author Jon Mechem who reminded us of two key leadership communications venues: wholesale and retail. This Meet The Press appearance is Obama selling ideas wholesale, appealing to the American People as a mass market (3.5 million influential viewers). Mechem – and others – points out that President Obama notoriously forgets the retail communications needs, to make person-to-person contact. Phone, text, skype, visit, etc.
Not surprisingly this is PR advice we give to many clients. Integrated communications is both wholesale and retail. Often, companies and personalities habitually rest on their advertising and marketing budgets rather than leveraging their personal power to not simply pursued, but to inspire. And that’s precisely why integrating social media and video with our publicity and marketing campaigns is so powerful. It gives us the ability to interact, to discuss, to communicate on a retail level – to network, chat, shmooze. Modern Publicity views technology as a tool to establish greater intimacy and client loyalty.
Rather than analyzing the entire interview transcript (Looked up “shambolic“), I simply jotted down the presidential statements that jumped out at me. Please note how simple, yet powerful, each phrase is. These are Obama all quotes:
“The pressure is on Congress to produce”
“up or down vote”
“dysfunction in Washington”
“$2 of spending cuts for every $1 of increased revenue”
“[the American people] made a clear decision”
“overriding unifying theme”
“[the fallacy that] deficit reduction is only about cutting”
“a balanced approach”
A lawsuit is a powerful way to put a lot of pressure to convince other people to pay. Sometimes it’s a just correction of a wrong sometimes it’s not. However, once they are filed, they are public information and, therefore, can find their way into the news.
A lawsuit filed against you or your company requires expert crisis communications management even if it’s not in the news. Lawyers almost always recommend silence. But silence can imply guilt and affect a company’s reputation in a way that affects the bottom line. When questioned by reporters, a skilled publicist can often help keep the court action from becoming news. If it’s already a story, the publicist can ensure your key messages don’t included “no comment.”
Obviously, NFL quarterback Drew Brees is a very famous person. As soon as he files a law suit, it’s in the news. Insofar as publicity is concerned, Brees has the advantage of both being a popular personality and the plaintiff, not the defendant. If you’re the defendant in the news, what is your first move?
- Take a deep breath. Keep a cool head. This will pass.
- Do not manage the press yourself. Refer to your company’s “crisis communications plan” which should include bringing in an outside expert who is detached from the story.
- Move all crisis communications out of the office. Firewall bad news so it has the least impact on company moral. Crisis communications should include internal communications with staff which is candid, factual and optimistic.
- Choose a single spokesperson. Refer all reporters to that spokesperson. They should be available 24/7 to screen all reporter calls and answer media inquiries in an orderly fashion.
- Answer all reporters. You can state you will have a statement in 24 hours, but answer all reporters’ emails and phone calls with a prepared statement.
- Tell the truth. Often, this is painful. Always, this is necessary.
- Stay calm. Focus on the positive. Don’t do “spin” – only relevant factual information.
By having a simple, easy-to-execute crisis communications plan in place, a surprise lawsuit won’t derail your business before you have even entered the courtroom. In fact, when handled well, it can/should enhance your reputation. The key is the be prepared and delegate communications to experts in this particular type of publicity.
We love staging video publicity stunts but we usually call them “press conferences.”