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Bad PR

Newly Minted ‘Ebola Czar’ Conspicuously Absent from Ebola Strategy Meeting

ron klein

ICYMI: America is freaking completely out over three isolated cases of Ebola with a strand of connection to warrant a skosh of hysteria (and some PR fees for managing crisis communications).

To help deal with a situation that is less than a month old, President Obama felt pressured empowered to appoint an “Ebola Czar” who will help guide the federal response while working hand-in-hand with the CDC.

Enter into the fray Ron Klain, formerly known as Chief of Staff for Veeps Biden and Gore. Klain, who will reportedly answer to both White House homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, is supposed to be the go-to source for all things Ebola.

Yet reports held that Klain did not attend a White House meeting Friday discussing the federal response to the domestic threat. And when it came time for the first strategy meeting, Klain was nowhere to be found. No word yet from any of his bosses…yet.

Chin up, America.

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Gawker Clarifies on Tweets by Writers

gawker-logoHere’s what we know about #Gamergate: people mention it on Twitter a lot. The root of the story concerns alleged ethical transgressions by a blog that covers video games, but the tag quickly devolved into a large group of anonymous (male) people wishing violence on women.

Last week, the guy behind the hashtag admitted to BuzzFeed that it was all about a recent breakup and said that, while he regrets certain “outcomes,” he would do it again.

On Thursday, Sam Biddle of Gawker’s Valleywag made a joke about the story that lead to an internal memo from editor Joel Johnson in which he effectively warned writers to be careful about what they tweet.

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Pink Slip Mania: This Is (Now) CNN

CNN fail

Unfortunately for Turner Broadcasting Systems, ratings haven’t been kind to the network that invented — for better or worse — 24/7 news.

In fact, they have sucked a little. This consistent downward spiral has forced the muckety-mucks at Turner (parent company of CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and others) to consider what many in media believe to be the inevitable.

Reports show up to 300 have been let go at CNN and HLN alone, and this afternoon our sister site TVNewser learned that the recently relaunched Crossfire had been put out of its misery (again).

Factoids on the dearly departed after the jump. Read more

Will We Ever Learn to Trust a Nielsen Rating Again?

mfXjziuRatings are Nielsen’s bread and butter, so you can imagine the upset when it was discovered that recent numbers may have been “misattributed.”

From the New York Times:

Nielsen, the television research firm, acknowledged on Friday that it had been reporting inaccurate ratings for the broadcast networks for the last seven months, a mistake that raises questions about the company’s increasingly criticized system for measuring TV audiences.

The error wound up benefiting one network, ABC, while negatively affecting the others, according to people briefed on the problem. In a telephone call with reporters, Nielsen executives would not confirm that it had resulted in added viewers for ABC, saying they could not discuss individual clients.

How does a company recover from such a taint? Read more

The FTC Will Take ‘False Advertising’ for $18 Million, Alex

FTC Alex Trebek

You can never be too sure when becoming a celebrity spokesperson. Your name is your reputation, and no group of people is more aware of that than movie and TV stars.

The value of said name is the only reason we see people we know shilling for something they probably never use in real life. Does anyone really think the Kardashians need a pre-paid credit card?!

Such is life for the effusively smarmy Jeopardy host, Alex Trebek.

The guy always knows the answer you missed and makes sure that you know he knows it, even though he may have the answers written on a card in his Canadian sweaty hands. And now that a product for which he shilled has been smacked down by the Federal Trade Commission, he is probably sweating a bit more.

Is there a Doctor Oz in the house?

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Food Critic Gael Greene Calls Out ‘Incautious’ Rep in Scathing Review

gael greeneIt’s tough out there for a New York restaurant rep, because the biggest names in the food writing biz are often the most critical. Who could forget how much fun Pete Wells had writing his sadistic takedown of Guy Fieri in The New York Times?

Anyway, Gael Greene is one of that tiny club’s longest-standing members at the ripe young age of 80. Despite the fact that New York magazine dropped her in 2008 after 40 years(!), she still carries a lot of weight here in our picky, picky city.

That’s probably why Miriam Silverberg Associates wanted her to review the new French restaurant Paname. The subsequent writeup, released today, is all but dripping with disdain.

A selection:

“It was the bread that tolled the leaden funeral bell…What good little French bistro — ‘just like Paris,’ the press agent Miriam Silverberg assured me — would serve this bread?”

Oh no.

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Marriott Fined $600K by FCC for Jammin’ (Guest’s Wi-Fi Signals)

marriottIn May 2012, Marriott pulled quite the coup in hospitality when the hotelier bought the luxurious Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center brand for $210 million.

The chief reason Marriott doled out that kind of coin was to make an impact in the convention space, which was never a problem for the Gaylord estates nationwide. Suffice to say, you would think that rolling out the red carpet for conference attendees would be the chain’s top priority.

Not so much.

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Subway Implies That Women Should Stay Skinny for ‘Sexy’ Halloween Costumes

subway halloween adSubway‘s most recent ad implies that people — “people” meaning “women” — should stay thin past summer because they have to look good in all those “sexy” Halloween costumes like “attractive nurse” or “hot devil.” Because we need more stupid marketing in the world.

The ads have been called sexist. And, yes, meh on this ad. Subway tells the Today show that “some people” (also women) are missing the “intended humor of the ad,” which is another way of saying, “We’re sorry you were offended.”

We’ll propose that the problem here is taste as much as sexism. And no, we’re not talking about the taste of the sandwiches.

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Apple Revokes Top Euro Computer Mag’s PR Accreditation

Computer Bild is one of Europe’s biggest tech publications. It’s also responsible for a #bendgate or, as they call it, “bentgate” iPhone 6 video that’s been viewed more than half a million times over the past week.

Apple’s response to the video yesterday confirmed everything our inside source told us about their PR practices in September: the company revoked the magazine’s accreditation.

Here’s the video, which is really not as bad as the one everybody passed around when the phone first launched:

It’s in German, but you can see from the screenshot below that the folks at Bild were able to slightly bend the phone with considerable effort.

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The Future of Las Vegas No Longer Involves Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

delivering-happinessYou may not know his name, but you certainly know his company.

Many big businesses and top entrepreneurs place Zappos and its CEO Tony Hsieh, pronounced Shay, on the Mount Rushmore of “Best Service-Minded Companies in the Country” (arguably occupying a space next to The Container Store, Southwest Airlines, Chick-Fil-A, and Trader Joe’s).

Aside from making every person feel extremely special, he is very passionate about building businesses. This is why he took on the “Downtown Project” in Las Vegas to become an entrepreneur incubator. The project was a $350 million attempt by Hsieh and others to transform 60 acres of Downtown Las Vegas into a growing tech city.

Admirable. If only it had worked.

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