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Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

Scott Brown and The Dangers of Late-Night Tweeting

Scott Brown TwitterScott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator whose recent loss to Elizabeth Warren left his political future uncertain, got some unwanted attention over the weekend after releasing a series of nonsensical late-night tweets that left many questioning his sobriety.

It’s both a silly story and a great illustration of how a series of poorly thought-out messages can lead to PR disaster–especially for public figures on social media.

The timeline is pretty simple:

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Microsoft ‘Comms Guy’ Challenges Google Rep to a Twitter Duel

Frank X. Shaw is Microsoft’s “top comms guy”. He doesn’t think too much of rival Google’s attempts to go highbrow in the PR sphere—and he let thousands of people know about it on Twitter this weekend.

Let’s unravel the roots of this little playground mud fight between two of the biggest PR pros in the business: Microsoft, still desperate to sponsor the Bing vs. Google fight that no one in the world asked for, just hired much-hated political operative Mark Penn as its top messaging man. You may remember Penn as the guy behind Hillary Clinton’s infamous 2008 “3 AM” ad implying that then-Senator Barack Obama was too inexperienced to run the country.

The New York Times ran a story on the hire, casting Mr. Penn as a negative messenger who would help Microsoft attack Google with “scorched earth” spots like this one that criticizes the company for ruining users’ search experiences by clogging results with sponsored ads. The article notes that Microsoft has “long attacked Google from the shadows” but now looks to take the fight to prime-time. A former colleague of Mr. Penn’s warned that Google should prepare to have “everything…thrown at them”—including the kitchen sink.

Sounds like a run-of-the-mill corporate PR battle, right? Well, the Times also contacted top Google spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker for comment. She said that, while Google employs lobbyists and PR firms just like its rivals, “…our focus is on Google and the positive impact our industry has on society, not the competition.”

Of course Frank Shaw did not like this one bit.

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Hillary Clinton Is Such a Tease

Hillary Clinton certainly knows how to play the keep ‘em guessing game, doesn’t she?

The Secretary of State is one of the most popular politicians in the country and the overwhelming favorite for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. She knows how valuable her brand is, and she’s not afraid to dangle a big carrot in front of reporters’ noses.

She’s long insisted that she plans to step down after the election and repeatedly claimed to have no interest in running for the country’s highest office again (we can hardly blame her). But a recent Wall Street Journal interview (subscribers only, sorry) has the political classes chattering about the possibility of big future moves from a woman with more political capital than anyone else around.

Some choice takeaways from the interview:

  • Hillary calls herself a representative of the “American brand” engaging in “public diplomacy”
  • She loves the fact that her job doesn’t require her to blow dry her hair
  • Regarding a 2016 run, she has officially “ruled it out.”
  • She plans to step down if President Obama wins re-election, but says “A lot of people have talked to me about staying.”

And—here’s the big one—she calls the prospect of her staying with the administration “unlikely.”

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Hillary Clinton Can’t Stand Holden Caulfield

Today in (Fake) Media Scandals: You may have heard of a controversial article published in The Atlantic this summer in which columnist and former State Department director of policy planning Anne-Marie Slaughter lamented the fact that many modern women cannot possibly live up to the superhuman expectations they face as both mothers and professionals.

(We’re sure it was a great piece; please don’t tell our friends we haven’t read it yet.)

Fast forward to this week, when Marie Claire published an extensive “farewell” interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Interviewer Ayelet Waldman asked Clinton about Slaughter’s piece and the SoS seemed to agree with her thesis, noting that while “Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs”, others can juggle multiple children and demanding careers without “break[ing] a sweat.” Different strokes…

The next paragraph moved into a discussion about “whiners”, a class of people for whom Clinton has little patience. She wasn’t afraid to make a forceful point: “I can’t stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into…You live in a time when there are endless choices…Do Something!”

Sounds like Hillary might have been referring to the women in Slaughter’s article who find themselves paralyzed by the unreasonable demands of modern life, doesn’t it?

That’s what the scoop-hungry bloggers at Politico, Jezebel and The Huffington Post thought. We can see why—in emails to journalists, Marie Claire’s PR people hyped the story by implying that the quote referred directly to Slaughter’s article. But the subsequent headlines about Hillary knocking on women who whine about “having it all” weren’t quite accurate; the Secretary said so herself. Here’s the missing section of the interview:  Read more

Clinton Rep Apologizes for ‘F**k Off’ Remark

Today in We Saw This Coming News: Hillary Clinton spokesperson/angry young man Philippe Reines issued an apology to Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings for including “f**k off” (and other colorful colloquialisms) in a testy email exchange last week.

Speaking to Politico, Reines confirmed that he sent an apology to Hastings two days after the incident, noting that “No matter how strongly you feel about something, there’s a way to make a point,” and cursing the offending reporter out is not it.

Neither party behaved admirably in this story, but we feel safe saying that Reines really should have known better, and we hope Hillary gave him a stern talking-to. (We do know she has the power to do that, because she famously doesn’t take crap from anyone.)

Has the damage been controlled? That’s hard to say.

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Bad PR: Clinton Rep Tells Buzzfeed Reporter to ‘F**k Off’

Today in Bad Media Relations News, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s well-named spokesman Philippe Reines—who has served as a State Department official under Clinton since her 2009 appointment–recently told Buzzfeed political reporter and Rolling Stone veteran Michael Hastings to “f**k off” and “have a good life” via email.

What led to this unbecoming outburst? It all began with a series of sharp questions regarding the State Department’s behavior following the recent tragedy at Benghazi and its response to the scandal in which CNN admitted to removing the deceased US Ambassador’s diary from the scene of the crime and using its contents in a later report without the permission of the man’s surviving family members.

The entire exchange was extremely antagonistic on both sides, and it makes for a fascinating mini-case study in media relations. Hastings begins by calling Reines’s public condemnation of CNN “offensive” and unashamedly blames lax State Department security measures for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. So yeah, the tension was quite obvious, even over email, and we weren’t surprised when Hastings described Reines’s official explanations of the Benghazi situation as “bullshit.”

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New Chef Corps Aims to Re-Brand American Food

Anyone who has seen a few episodes of “No Reservations” or “Top Chef” knows that the United States boasts a very active and incredibly diverse culinary culture. Unfortunately, many of our overseas brethren think that American food begins and ends with Colonel Sanders and the golden arches.

The State Department and the James Beard Foundation would like to change all that, and last Friday they officially named more than 80 big chefs from across the US as members of the first “American Chef Corps.”

The team includes such food-world luminaries as Dan Barber of Blue Hill and April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig (sorry, we’re partial to New York), and their responsibilities will include preparing distinctly American meals for foreign dignitaries, conducting educational programs for audiences overseas, and inviting top chefs from around the world to cook in their stateside kitchens. Most importantly, they want to remind our overseas friends that American food is, in many cases, quite good. While they won’t get paid for the honor, they do get free uniforms.

This sounds like a fairly interesting idea!

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Edelman Nabs PSB’s Berland to Head New Analytics Biz

Edelman announced today that it has hired Michael J. Berland of WPP’s Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates to act as CEO of a newly-formed research and analytics business known as Edelman Berland.

The new company will be integrated with StrategyOne, Edelman’s existing market research firm, but the StrategyOne brand will live on with current CEO Steve Lombardo working under a yet-to-be-announced title.

In announcing the hire, company CEO Richard Edelman said, “I have known and admired Mike Berland’s work for close to a decade. When it comes to fully integrating research with PR programs and partnering with both account teams and clients, he is simply the best.”

Berland, an acclaimed author and veteran strategic adviser to political figureheads like Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, most recently served as president of Washington, D.C. based PSB, where he put his market research experience to use in serving clients in politics and other fields around the world.

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Thoughts on the Forbes ’100 Most Powerful Women’ List

Today Forbes released its annual list of the most powerful women in the world—and while we can’t disagree with obvious selections like Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, new Yahoo! Chief Marissa Mayer and Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg, we do wonder whether J.Lo is truly more powerful than NBC Universal/Comcast Chairman Bonnie Hammer–and whether Sofia Vergara belongs on the list simply because she sells millions of dollars worth of Pepsi products to the Hispanic market (maybe she just has a great representative). Any observations? Agreements? Disagreements?

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Care Whether You Like Her Outfit

OK, we know we live in an era characterized by bad-faith political polarization that borders on complete inertia, but we still feel like we can reach agreement on one point: Hillary Clinton does not mess around.

In the wake of the viral tumblr hit Texts from Hillary, serious journalists like ourselves have sought new ways to make light of the fact that the Secretary of State is kind of a badass–and the Boston Review found a good one this week with a saucy excerpt from a two-year old interview with a couple of clueless talk show hosts in Kyrgyzstan: Read more

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