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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

Are We All ‘Bullies’ Now?

Google the words “Biden bully” today and you’ll see a surfeit of defensive responses to last night’s debate, which most polls found to be a moderate win for the current Vice President. (We’re not sure how we’d come down on that issue, but it was certainly more entertaining than last week’s snooze-fest.)

But is this really the appropriate response to a debate between political candidates? Has anyone seen how they do things overseas? Check out Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s bombastic rant labeling opposition leader Tony Abbot a misogynist and a hypocrite if you really want to see a politician on the receiving end of an epic beat down.

Even The Wall Street Journal op-ed page ran an article titled “The Bully vs. The Wonk.” We get it—your editorial team doesn’t much care for the Democratic Party. In other shocking revelations, we hear that fire is hot and water is wet. We’re not saying Biden didn’t show obvious contempt for his opponent, but is The Wall Street Journal seriously arguing that debates should be more respectful? Of course not–they’re just making up for the fact that their guy got pummeled, and this is the best line they could come up with. But wait, don’t both sides do it? Of course they do. In fact, we’re a little surprised we didn’t notice anyone calling Mitt Romney a “bully” last week.

So let’s consider: Has the word lost all meaning?

Here’s another example: We all cheered for newscaster Jennifer Livingston when she called out the man who had the audacity to fatshame her, but was “bully” really the right word for him?

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Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

Time Releases Awkward Paul Ryan Photos

We can’t say we’re too excited about tonight’s vice presidential debate between Paul “Seacrest” Ryan and Joey “Walnuts” Biden, but Time just made things a little more…colorful by releasing the results of a 2011 photo shoot that features Ryan lifting weights, wearing a suit and making funny faces. We particularly love the “girl please” shot on the left.

The magazine picked Ryan as a runner-up in its annual “Person of the Year” issue, but editors held off on releasing the photos until today for some reason. Sounds like a conspiracy theory as heinous as last week’s painfully obvious plan to cook the unemployment numbers, doesn’t it, Jack Welch?

In directly PR-related news (you thought we’d never get there), these pics remind us that Ryan has provided some great publicity for a certain red-hot series of workout videos. P90X creator (and former standup comedian!) Tony Horton says that “Ryan’s been very good for P90X, as much or more so as Michelle Obama”, and claims that Secret Service members told him that they’re “really loving the P90X” on a recent visit to the White House.

This love of weightless workouts may be the last example of true bipartisanship that we see for some time. Enjoy.

What’s a Presidential Debate Worth, Anyway?

You’re probably aware that the first debate of the 2012 Presidential election takes place tonight. We know, we know–you can’t wait to hear more about this incredibly exciting race, right?

Well, we’re going to ask the question anyway: What’s the real PR value of a debate? We can’t imagine that too many voters would honestly describe themselves as “undecided” at this point, but an estimated 50 million people will watch the events live—and an audience that big has to be worth something, right?

Maybe not. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently predicted that the debates would be a “game changer” for challenger Mitt Romney, but the general consensus holds that the overall influence of these events (which are heavily scripted, despite what they all tell us) is negligible.

Candidates love to play along. In fact, the most irritating element of the debate build-up is the lowered expectations game in which each candidate tries to convince the news media and the public that his or her (okay, his) opponent is a master debater who may well triumph—although it won’t matter in the end.

This is why President Obama recently rated his own debate skills as “okay” while veep nominee Paul Ryan called him “a very gifted speaker” and an “experienced debater”. Obama’s spokesman David Plouffe followed by saying that Mitt Romney has “…prepared more than any candidate in history. And he has shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years.”

Geez, we get it—you can all be very annoying!

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Ogilvy’s MediaXchange Mixer Was a Blast

This week the people of Ogilvy PR’s Media Influence group did a bit of what they do best: hosting an informal get-together for representatives from some of New York media’s biggest brands and inviting your humble editor along for the ride!

The third quarterly MediaXchange event took place at the East Side’s Club A Steakhouse, a restaurant known for its prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, its low-light atmospherics, and the strategically placed mirrors that make its upstairs lounge area look even more spacious than it actually is.

The event included representatives from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Fox News, Fast Company and more, and its main concerns were networking and discussing the shifting influence of “traditional” media on the national conversation.

Jennifer Risi, EVP of Ogilvy Media Influence and director of content creation, explained the purpose of the series: “Despite the emergence of social media, events such as the MediaXchange series are proving to be an invaluable forum for promoting the stories of our clients and establishing lasting connections with key influencers.  The informal setting fosters an ‘old school’ environment where we are able to promote, share and collaborate with some of the leading reporters and conference organizers in the industry today.”

There was indeed quite a bit of healthy fraternizing going on: Read more

Little White Lies: What Good Are Fact Checkers Anyway?

Today in Negative Retail News, New York State’s attorney general is investigating the makers of popular caffeinated energy drinks like Amp, Monster and 5 Hour Energy for playing a little loose with their facts and ingredients. On the other side of the grid, nearly every opinionator across the board—and yes, that includes Fox News—has pointed out a series of glaring inaccuracies in the speech that Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan gave at his party’s convention last night (while also noting that his presentation was impressive and that he hit all the right notes for the home team).

How do these stories relate? They both highlight the role of the independent fact-checker, and they raise a series of questions about the value of accuracy and transparency in public relations. So:

  • Does the additional of “herbal supplements” like guarana allow 5-Hour Energy and Monster drinks to contain “undisclosed” amounts of caffeine large enough to raise eyebrows?
  • Are they particularly dangerous when paired with alcohol?
  • Are big soda makers like Pepsico and Coca-Cola downplaying the unhealthy aspects of their most popular get-up-and-go products?

And:

  • Did Paul Ryan serve as the best-known Republican representative on the bipartisan debt commission that he just excoriated President Obama for ignoring?
  • Did he in fact vote against the very proposal that he seemed to suggest the President should have followed?

The answer to all these questions is yes. But in the interests of the brands in question, does it even really matter?

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Congressmen Don’t Seem to Understand Women

Just when you thought we had run the Todd Akinlegitimate rape” controversy into the ground, here come some more choice quotes for the grist mill. In the words of Michael Corleone: “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!”

Who’s the latest victim of his own poor PR “strategy?” Local press recently asked Pennsylvania senate candidate Tom Smith to weigh in on the Akin controversy–and he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. We can imagine his advisers cringing as he implied that a daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy is “similar” to pregnancy by rape “from a father’s position.”

Who advises these guys on conducting interviews? Do they not realize that more than half of Americans happen to be female, and that a large majority of them are not particularly receptive to such statements? And do their advisers not warn them against dangling such idiotic quotes before a hungry press?  If they really want to win election, they might want to hire publicists or trainers who actually understand these “issues”—how about some real-life women? Any volunteers?

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Rage Against the Machine Rags on Ryan

Photo credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images; Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

 

According to Rolling Stone , Mitt Romney‘s arch-conservative running-mate Paul Ryan has cited Rage Against the Machine as one of his favorite bands. Yet the discrepancy between the band’s messages and Ryan’s political ideals is glaringly obvious to anyone with more than a passing knowledge of their music. More specifically, the group has a history of vocal opposition to the Republican party — they staged a protest concert on the lawn of the Minnesota State Capitol during the Republican National Convention in 2008. The sheer irony of Ryan’s fandom hasn’t escaped the band’s notice: In an exclusive op-ed in Rolling Stone, guitarist Tom Morello expresses his amusement at Ryan’s musical choices as well as his own, well, rage at virtually everything the Wisconsin Rep. stands for. Read more

Romney’s Paul Ryan Pick: A PR Win?

And then there were twoWe generally prefer to avoid dipping our toes too deeply into the political arena, but we think we can judge Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate to be a PR win–for the moment, at least. Why? It serves as an irresistible dog whistle to those who make their livings polling and pontificating about politics, and the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent PR stumbles have now been obliterated by a wave of news and opinions about his new, “edgy” veep pick.

Judging by a big surge in related activity throughout the Twitter-verse (ugh), Romney won the weekend by announcing what struck many as a bold choice while making the pundit class look a little silly in the process. Let the “pros and cons” pile-on begin!

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The Ticker: Britain’s Olympic Glory; Paul Ryan; Brazil Prepares; Nook Tablet; Motorola Job Cuts

Did the Romney Campaign Just Reveal Its VP Pick?

Will it be this silver fox? In politics — even more than most industries — PR reps strive to maintain control over the media narrative and save the most sensitive stories for release at the best possible times. On that note, the biggest news from Mitt Romney’s campaign in the coming weeks will be its official announcement of the former governor’s running mate.

Third parties and a certain former VP have advised the Romney camp to avoid the media explosion prompted by Sarah Palin’s appearance on the national stage four years ago, and the team has followed suit, aiming to divert the attention of the press by dropping big, unlikely names into the pool and encouraging friendly media outlets to run with the fake stories as they “break.”

NBC’s First Read reports that three candidates remain in the running, yet NPR and TechPresident believe that Romney’s PR camp may have revealed their hand by way of editorial activity on Wikipedia. Given the fact that traffic on any candidate’s page will shoot up in the wake of such an announcement, we find their theory credible: Last-minute edits are needed to make the potential Veep look as good as possible. So which of the frequently-named VP candidates’ pages have seen the most changes of late?

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