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Politics

Obama Promotes Press Freedom Abroad, Has Media Relations Problems at Home

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative in YangonThe American President is no stranger to dust-ups with the leering media.

This is a man who inspired high-fives  in newsrooms across this great land of ours when he declared that he would have the “most transparent administration in U.S. history.” Regretfully, that promise lasted all of a few weeks.

Journalism groups have scolded him and his response has been a questionable finger pointed in their direction because they “spread cynicism.” Now the president, while traveling in China and Myanmar, says that the  the media should have greater access to do their job in those lands.

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Senator McConnell’s ‘No Shutdown’ Promise Looks Short-Lived

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Dear America, On second thought… 

There are only a few guarantees in life: death, taxes, gravity, and the fact that politicians will say and do anything for a vote. Many would sell their own mother, but given the fact most of those folks have been on Capitol Hill for more than two decades, mom probably bought the farm a few years back.

Anywho, several politicians have been raising the same old flags of truce and speaking longingly of bipartisanship since the Republican takeover of The Senate a couple of weeks back. Among those spreading the Sister Sledge harmony is the new Lord of the Flies, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader. Here’s his quote:

“Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.”

Nice for a Kumbaya moment as McConnell stated at the weekly Republican policy luncheon late last week (source). Only one small problem, he has used that line before. Like, last year.

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White House Expands on Anti-Sexual Assault PSA Campaign

The mid-terms may have turned decisively against the Obama administration, but that doesn’t mean that any of its initiatives — the ones that don’t require congressional approval, at least — will slow down.

One of those initiatives is the “It’s On Us” PSA campaign that aims to encourage Americans to take action to prevent sexual assault. The first spot in the series appeared in April, and a second one, created by ad agency Mekanism and promoted by Sunshine Sachs, hit our inboxes back in September. The second chapter featured an all-star cast of celebrities calling upon the public to take a pledge and make a “personal commitment to help keep women and men safe.”

The newest video is less impressive in terms of its cast but more direct with the message:

We like the work, which keeps things simple and direct in aiming at a very specific audience.

But we do wonder whether — as in the case of the recent NFL-approved anti-domestic violence PSA — this important message will go unheard amidst the politics-as-usual noise.

Study: Brands Play Politics at Their Own Risk

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Last week, we covered a study performed by the Global Strategy Group which found that Americans want their consumer brands to be MORE openly political.

You’re not alone in finding these conclusions surprising: we are not exactly a country defined by political consensus at the moment, and many brands looking to appeal to as many Americans as possible would rather stay out of the game entirely. (For example, you may notice that Chick-Fil-A’s current leadership has far more interest in discussing customer engagement and marketing strategies than same-sex marriage.)

A new research paper funded by the Arthur W. Page Center and published in the November issue of Public Relations Journal seems, in part, to contradict GSG’s findings. Americans may want their brands to take stands on social/policy issues, but the act of playing politics also carries significant risks.

As co-author and assistant professor of PR/advertising at University of Central Florida Melissa D. Dodd puts it, “there are financial repercussions.”

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STUDY: The Public Wants Its Brands to Get More Political

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Is Nike a Republican or a Democratic brand? What about Apple?

Given the headaches and ruined family dinners inspired by this week’s midterm elections — along with the general sense that Americans have had it with ugly party politics — this post’s headline may come as a surprise.

Yet a study released by the Global Strategy Group found that Americans do assign political identities to brands, and that the general public wants those brands to be more overtly political, whether that means Chick-Fil-A letting the world know how it feels about same-sex marriage or Chipotle asking gun owners not to bring their firearms inside.

Some key findings:

  • 56 percent of respondents think corporations should “take a stance” on political/cultural issues, even when they’re controversial
  • 89 percent believe that corporations have the power to influence social change
  • 80 percent think that these corporations should take action to address our society’s most pressing challenges

The most interesting part is that these numbers mark a big change from last year, when researchers asked the same questions. We spoke to Tanya Meck, Executive Vice President and Managing Director at GSG, to learn more.

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: Women Making $70 ‘Feminist’ Shirts Earned $1 Per Hour

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Ever since the days of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to today with Glorias Steinem and Allred, feminism is something that has been necessary to help position the accomplishments of women and see them rewarded justly for what they have done.

Good times, right?

These three knobs (pictured above, left to right) are Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, and Nick Clegg. Ed is leader of the UK’s Labor Party (or Labour, if you pardon the silent and snotty “u”). Harriet is leader of the British House of Commons. And Nick is Deputy British Prime Minister and “Lord President of the Council” because he needed a more overblown title on his business card.

They all support women’s rights, which is why they are wearing the same tee shirt. The problem, here is that they aren’t as interested in (or even aware of) the struggles of the women who actually made the clothes they’re wearing.

Not good.

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White House Charging Reporters $60K to Do Their Jobs

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(Photo Credits: FOXNews.com, AP)

In the PRNewserverse, we heart our journalist friends.

We appreciate their dedication to the craft of sharing stories and the sacrifices they make to do so. Consider the White House Press Corps. Their behavioral patterns follow the ebbs and flows of whatever the administration occupies the position at the time.

One small problem: President Obama isn’t that crazy about them. He has tried ignoring them, to the point of being given a petition. He has done a “Statue of Liberty” flag football move to avoid them en route to a fundraiser. He has even pointed his finger in their faces and accused them of spreading cynicism.

Now, the administration has effectively instituted a cover charge for reporters to get in the club to which they already belong.  Read more

Geraldo Calls Netanyahu ‘Chickensh!t,’ Gets Blasted by Kerry in Return

As a self-proclaimed “Jew-Rican,” Geraldo Rivera would be the last person you would expect to throw bombs in the direction of God’s chosen people. But one also gets the sense that the dude kinda’ misses the spotlight.

And so, this happened yesterday evening:

Gentlemen, to your corners…

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Time Magazine Has Us ‘Hot for Teacher’ in a Bad Way

screaming-teacherOn Nov. 3, Time magazine will publish an article that has a few people in charge of educating our future a little steamed.

The focus is America’s teachers. The story is “Rotten Apples.” The premise gets even worse – it’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.

The story is all about how this is a travesty in American education plaguing today’s classrooms — and how some tech millionaires with way too much time on their hands may have found a way to change that.

Oh, there’s also a petition demanding an apology from TimeRead more

Sen. Ted Cruz’ (Should-Be-Former) Staffer Connects Ebola and Obamacare via Twitter

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DERP DERP DERP

In the words of an ancient philosopher, “Let it go!

Ebola is gravely serious. We just cleared the scare in North Texas, and now Ebola has made its way to New York. This isn’t time for jokey jokes.

Yet, that doesn’t stop political satirists — otherwise known as politicians’ staffers — from getting 15 minutes of fame on the improv stage. Latest to the stand-up spotlight is Nick Muzin, deputy chief of staff for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). His tactic: tweet about a connection between Ebola and Obamacare.

There’s never a rotten tomato to throw when you need one.

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