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Damage Control

Tried and True Moves from the Clinton PR Machine

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In the essay “My Battle With the Clintons“, completely objective reporter Daniel Halper (who just happens to edit the conservative Weekly Standard) gives Politico some dirt regarding his “It Happened to Me” moment going toe-to-toe with the Clinton PR team over his critical book.

“When I started to write Clinton, Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, I knew the reaction to expect… But even if I hadn’t known it, many, many people in Washington, on the left and right, popped up to warn me of what to expect from the Clinton PR team. Other authors—legitimate ones with serious pedigrees—who’d written about the Clintons said they were threatened and verbally attacked. Of course, nearly everyone in Washington has seen the much-vaunted Clinton PR machine in action. It’s very predictable.”

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Clintons know a thing or two about this PR biz. According to Halper, here’s how it works:

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AP #MH17 Tweet Traumatizes English Teachers, the World

AP Tweet Crash LandsThe humble comma — its inclusion can mean life or death for panda bears (and pilots alike), as well as the difference between respectable reporting and an horrific #PRFail.

Case in point: the single tweet posted by the Associated Press late this morning suggesting that the Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 had crash landed in Eindhoven, when all it really did was land. Read more

San Diego Purging the Homeless to Spruce up the City for Comic-Con

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KGTV-10 (ABC) in San Diego recently let us know that downtown San Diego is ready for Comic-Con. 

More than 100,000 heroically adorned dorks lovely people will soon take up shop in “America’s Finest City.” Banners are being hung on street poles, hotels are getting ready for the influx of visitors, restaurants are developing exclusive menus…and are police are kicking the homeless out of the area.

So nice when an entire city holds hands, chips in and works together, right?

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Damage Control, Sports Edition: Homophobic Vikings Coach Is Not Homophobic

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In case you missed it, now-former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe dragged the NFL into the 21st century kicking and screaming faster than you can say “Michael Sam” earlier this year by claiming that the team fired him not for his performance on the field but for his outspoken gay rights advocacy.

Kluwe hired a lawyer to help him make that point way back in January, and now the proverbial stuff is finally starting to hit the fan within the Vikings organization.

In short, Kluwe’s former special teams coach did indeed say that ““We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”

But his opinion doesn’t represent that of the larger organization. And he’s totes not homophobic in the first place.

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LEGO Issues Tepid Response to Shell Controversy; Greenpeace Issues Mock PSA

One has to admire Greenpeace’s dedication to solid production values. Check out this mock PSA, which came out today:

The org might not be so great with money, but it certainly jumped on the opportunity to criticize LEGO’s new partnership with big bad Shell a week ago, writing that the decision to include the Shell logo on some products (and reap the retail rewards) meant that the company was putting cold, hard cash “above its commitment to the environment and children’s futures.”

There’s also the expected petition complete with an image of a polar bear balancing on a LEGO ice block in a sea filled with oil and what looks like a pirated rig. All of those things and LEGO’s weak response after the jump.

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Can We Talk? Joan Rivers Calls President ‘Gay,’ First Lady ‘a Tranny’

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For more than 50 years, Joan Rivers has been considered the female Don Rickles — a compliment of the highest order. She has insulted everyone with wit, humor, and dazzling banter. However, that was the younger Joan Rivers. Today, she’s not so much funny, as just a fake plastic individual in Hollywood that doesn’t know when to give it up.

And now, the octogenarian comedienne may have just told her last joke and discussed her last arrest with the “Fashion Police.” Why? You don’t get to call the President of the United States “gay.” Moreover, his wife a “tranny.” Yeah, not even plastic surgery will save you from this one, Joan.

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More Proof Congress Knows Its Image Problem: Fire Staffers; Hire Flacks

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Election after election, we see the same thing: People hate Congress. People protest the system. People complain about the election. And then they do one of two things: 1.) Don’t vote or 2.) Vote for the same fools who are already there.

Why? There is no other explanation — voters are stupid. However, it seems that Congress may be getting smarter than the oafs who put them there. Based on a report from D.C. blog, InTheCapital, we learn that Capitol Hill has “cut down on staffers but increased their PR firms.”

Think they’re onto something? You know? Like, finally?

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T-Mobile’s Reputation Could Take a Big Hit From FTC Allegations About Fake Fees

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T-Mobile has fashioned an entire marketing campaign around the benefits to customers for making the switch to their services, promising to pay up to $650 for any fees incurred for coming over to their side. So it’s especially damaging that the Federal Trade Commission is charging the mobile service provider with duping customers into paying fees they shouldn’t have been on the hook for.

In its complaint, the FTC says T-Mobile has made “hundreds of millions” of dollars charging customers for the ability to send “premium” text messages that they didn’t ask for. T-Mobile allegedly pocketed 35 to 40 percent of the $9.99 per month typically charged. This practice is called “cramming” and, back in November, according to CNET, carriers agreed to ban the practice. Moreover, T-Mobile has said that it will help customers recoup fees from third-party providers who charge for these services.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has vehemently denied the charges in two different posts on the T-Mobile site, which have both been repeatedly tweeted out to his followers.

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Facebook’s Own Records Contradict Its Latest Apology

FACE!

If by “people” you mean “Facebook researchers”

We won’t say that Facebook has gotten good at apologizing, but they’re certainly used to it. At this point, even your great aunt has heard about the disastrous effects of a research paper that revealed the details of the company’s “manipulative” emotional A/B testing study. It might be Facebook’s biggest PR challenge to date because, even though it was probably not illegal, many users feel violated somehow.

The damage control line so far has been “it’s all about research” with the ultimate goal of improving the user experience–and that everyone implicitly agreed to play the part of unknowing digital lab rat when he/she clicked “OK” on Facebook’s terms and conditions.

Last night, however, a Forbes story undermined this claim.

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Corporate ‘Fact-Checking’ Blogs: Trend or Fad?

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In the wake of aggressive corporate communications moves like America’s biggest company “fact-checking” New York Times op-eds, we thought we’d check in on BlackBerry, the former best friend of Alicia Keys.

Last week, the company’s SVP of marketing announced the launch of its own “fact check portal”, which is usually the kind of thing reserved for politicians whose enemies will never believe that they have, in fact, seen the birth certificate.

So how is the portal doing so far?

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