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Posts Tagged ‘media people’

Last Night’s Winner: NYT’s Nate Silver

This afternoon we offer a semi-apology to those who follow American politics closely, because you’re going to see a whole lot of headlines like this one today and in the weeks ahead.

There’s a reason for that, though, and it needs to be covered: Nate Silver of The New York Times scored this election’s biggest branding win. He made a large portion of the  media’s pundit/PR class look ridiculous, and he did it using the most basic public relations strategy: honesty, consistent messaging and confidence in his clearly defined brand.

The fact that his book, The Signal and the Noise, quickly climbed to number 2 on the Amazon sales list today is no coincidence.

Some very quick back-story: Silver was a sports statistician who blogged electoral politics as a hobby, and in 2008 people started noticing how accurate his predictions turned out to be. The New York Times hired him as a regular contributor and began to host his blog on its main site. His audience quickly grew; he provided approximately 20% of the NYT‘s traffic in the days leading up to the vote.

For the past three weeks, Silver predicted a small but decisive Obama win despite the pundit class’s insistence that the race was “a toss-up”. Quite a few media folk lashed out, calling him partisan and insisting that his numbers were meaningless–but he never wavered. The only time Silver came anywhere close to damaging his brand was a few weeks ago, when he responded to the taunts of talk show host and former congressman Joe Scarborough with the offer of a bet–if the president lost, Silver would donate $1000 to the Red Cross on Scarborough’s behalf. NYT  public editor Margaret Sullivan questioned whether this wager was appropriate, but Silver’s fans jumped in to defend him—and we don’t think we’ll see too many criticisms coming from the management team after last night.

This is a big story—and we have confidence that it will change the political PR game in this country.

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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