It’s Friday, which means another edition of our series in which Bill McGowan — Clarity Media Group founder and coach to execs from Facebook, Airbnb and more — weighs in on the week’s most interesting and controversial stories.
Cook to Perfection
Apple CEO Tim Cook wins the “Pitch Perfect” of the week award. Not only did he share his sexual orientation in a thoughtful and dignified forum (BusinessWeek essay) but he demonstrated how the tone of coming out has been transformed over the past decade.
Learn how to create clear, visually compelling presentations! Starting December 1, you'll learn how to plan and design your presentation, understand your audience, choose which presentation software to use, and tailor your narrative to meet your audience's needs. Register now!
Well this is a blast from the past if there ever was one! Monica Lewinsky swept onto the Internet today with a preview of the Vanity Fairarticle that the magazine will be releasing digitally on May 8. And there are already some interesting bits in there about her life in the 10 years since we all became familiar with her name and her blue dress.
First, and perhaps this shouldn’t be shocking, but she’s 40 years old! In the minds of people who remember her from her days as the infamous intern, the thought of her aging that much just seems strange. But even now, the humiliation she must’ve felt (and had been made to feel) is palpable.
“”[T]hanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she writes.
When she talks about the relationship with President Clinton, she has a perspective that has clearly also come with time:
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
The brand stuck so much, in fact, that it prevented her from getting jobs later on. Among them, jobs in communications and branding at charitable campaigns.
Oh boy. That was painful. As you know Paula Deen appeared on the Today Show recently after abruptly cancelling an interview with Matt Lauer last Friday.
By now everyone in our industry has formed their opinions regarding Paula Deen’s rapid demise and her subsequent barrage of awkward apologies and wayward explanations. This entire situation is sad. There are no winners here. So we’re hesitant to jump in the media melee and add energy to this sadness, but as PR experts it’s our job to deconstruct this ugly mess.
These are emotional times for the Paula Deen empire, and emotional PR situations must be handled with logic, sincerity and intelligence. That means showing up and treating the public like adults. For Paula Deen the folksy, southern “aw shucks” shtick may sell Virginia ham, but it doesn’t sell the truth. Read more
Today in Unexpected Comebacks news, former right-wing talking point Monica Lewinsky has announced a return to the national spotlight that will have absolutely nothing to do with handbags!
In fact, “friends” report that Lewinsky is out for “revenge”, that she’s shopping a book described as a “tell-all memoir” to major publishing houses, and that she’s received offers in the cool $12 million dollar range. Two questions: Where did these “friends” get this number? And has a public figure ever published a memoir that did not promise to “tell all?”
Whatever. The book will apparently include “secret love letters” that Lewinsky wrote to former President Bill Clinton and reveal details about his “insatiable desire for three-way sex, orgies and the use of sex toys of all kinds.” Well, we guess you sometimes have to get a little racy if you really want the press to pay attention. And there’s more: Lewinsky’s book will also recount incidents in which Clinton referred to his wife as a “cold fish” and joked about their “non-existent sex life.”
Well then. We can certainly say one thing: Anonymous sources always give the bitchiest quotes–in fact, they sound suspiciously like the carefully chosen words of paid representatives! When asked why Lewinsky chose the current moment to release a memoir, yet another member of this mysterious group of “friends” gave the New York Postthis ridiculous quote:
“No one will hire her and she can’t get a job because of Clinton. She needs to make money somehow.”
Doesn’t sound like her PR folks are desperate at all, does it? Read more
Last night on the “Late Show,” host David Letterman revealed that he had affairs with staffers on the show and that someone had tried to blackmail him for $2 million to keep the story secret. That someone is a CBS News “48 Hours” employee, Robert J. Halderman, who is currently under arrest.
Tom Keaney of Rubenstein handles all PR for Mr. Letterman. He has not returned calls as of the time of this post. A CBS spokesperson toldThe Hollywood Reporter, “Mr. Letterman’s comments on the broadcast tonight speak for themselves.” Of course, we’re curious to see what you think on how it was handled. Was it best to do it on the show with laughs?
Howard Bragman, chairman of agency Fifteen Minutes, and a well respected crisis PR counselor who has worked with clients including Monica Lewinsky‘s family, Ed McMahon and Paula Abdul, told PRNewser, “There is not a good way to do this, there are ‘less bad’ ways to do this.”
“You look at your options and you’re on CBS so you’re not going to do it with Barbara Walters, you’re not going to go on “The Early Show,” of course you’re not going to go on Leno,” he said. “Why not do it where you’re most comfortable, where you’re surrounded by people that care about you?”
Despite the many ways this story can play out, Bragman insisted that Letterman only has to speak publicly once. “He’s David Letterman, he doesn’t invest a lot of time in being up front on good news, bad news or otherwise. His ratings are good. Tonight there will probably be a big boost in his ratings. We live in a world where there is a lot of crisis. There are so many, that they tend to go away and they have a half life of a fly. I always tell people, ‘once you say it, shut up.’ Rubenstein is a great firm, I suspect he’s in great hands.”
UPDATE: A press conference with Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau began at 11:30am ET. TVNewser has more.
UPDATE 2: Rubenstein’s Tom Keaney tells PRNewser that Rubenstein President Steven Rubenstein has represented Letterman “even longer than I have.”
President Barack Obama will appear on five – count them, five – Sunday morning talk shows this week, as well as an appearance on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” on Monday night.
The five show schedule was first performed in 1998, by Monica Lewinsky‘s attorney William Ginsburg to defend her after the scandal with President Clinton. Are five Sunday talk show appearances too much? The White House says no.
White House deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer told ABC News that the idea of “overexposure” is “an anachronistic view of how people consume news in this day and age.” Obama will appear on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and Univision. TVNewser has more on how the networks are promoting the interviews.