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Posts Tagged ‘ugly politics’

The GOP Knows What the Kids Are Wearing

Today in Same Old Story news, someone in the Republican Party anticipated the results of this study about changing political alliances among Millennials and got to work making some ads to appeal to that key demographic: Audi-driving early-30′s yuppies battling problems with facial hair.

Like all political ads, these are collections of cue card quips designed to reduce incredibly complex economic issues into simple talking points.

Of course the ad offers no specifics explaining why an easing of regulations on any given industry would lead to more jobs, much less better jobs. Nor does it explain moves to cut short the unemployment benefits earned by all those friends who (allegedly) can’t find work because of the same regulations…as if this guy’s “friends” work in fossil fuels.

The next ad makes the same points:

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Female Outreach PAC Director Says Women Are Too ‘Busy’ to Worry About Equal Pay

We are thankfully not involved in Texas politics, but something tells us Wendy Davis probably won’t be the state’s next governor. Call it a gut feeling.

Assuming she does lose, she can’t blame it on Red State Women. Here’s Cari Christman, executive director of the political action committee created to promote conservative (read: Republican) candidates to female voters, trying to explain to a reporter why she doesn’t think the state needs any equal pay laws:

Kinda goes without saying that the group supports Davis’s opponent, attorney general Greg Abbot.

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Chipotle Comms Clarifies: Fear Not the ‘Guacpocalypse’

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Here’s a case in which a company’s PR might almost regret having to contradict a viral story.

A couple of days ago a post on ThinkProgress highlighted a section of Chipotle’s annual report to investors, which expressed concern over the potential effect of global climate change and subsequent extended droughts on the availability of avocados and other produce.

“…we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost.”

The story went viral primarily due to the fact that it provided alternately bored/hungry/angry Americans with yet another excuse to scream at each other online. In other words, it was just another crappy, completely unproductive day in America’s political comment threads, which exist just to prove our theory that the human race might not be worth saving.

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This Might Be the Dumbest Tweet Ever Written by a Politician

We’re not quite sure what irritates us most about North Carolina state senator Bob Rucho‘s message: his mediocre-at-best grasp of the English language, his choice to completely butcher a great historical quote, or his decision to break a cardinal law of political discourse by comparing his adversaries to Nazis. The fact that he threw communists and terrorists in there for good measure and that he has called his critics “weenies” shows us that he might have committed a brilliant act of trolling.

Let’s count the errors here: possessive fail, subject-verb agreement fail, using “then” instead of “than”…

Rucho later made an attempt to explain himself:

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Maine Governor Says He’d Like to ‘Blow Up’ Local Newspapers

Say you’re one of the least popular governors in the country. Say the local papers have run several unflattering reports about conflicts of interest among your staffers. Say someone at a publicity event gives you an open-ended question while you’re sitting in a fighter jet simulator. What would you say?

Here’s a hint: do NOT say that you’d like to “blow up” the Portland Press Herald’s offices.

Maine Governor Paul LePage is a proudly outspoken political figure taken to insulting his opponents with crude sexual comments and telling students that newspapers are his “biggest fear”; political advisors call that “red meat for the base,” but we wonder about the wisdom of his media relations strategy.

Well, duh. But it won’t win you any of the new fans you need for re-election.

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Reputation Management at Amazon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Last week, online retail behemoth Amazon received the kind of PR boost that any brand outside the Republican Party would kill for: President Obama visited its massive Chattanooga warehouse and used his media megaphone to promote the company for creating jobs fit for every politician’s favorite fallback character: the “middle class” American.

This is all well and good, but Amazon’s recent reputation management challenges are far more complicated…and less complimentary.

The real purpose of the President’s visit was to propose a bargain between the two political parties in which he would trade a cut in corporate tax rates for increased government investment in “education, training, and public works projects” designed to facilitate the creation of those precious middle class jobs. The event unsurprisingly attracted critiques of both the company and the President that highlight their unique PR struggles.

It’s true that Amazon’s planned hiring wave will create as many as 7,000 American jobs, but Obama’s visit raised several questions that the company would rather not address:

  • Are these jobs truly “middle class?”
  • Is Amazon the sort of company that will help strengthen the American economy at large?
  • Will this PR stunt facilitate any truly meaningful political activity?

That’s easy: no, no, and…no.

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Don’t Count on BuzzFeed Sponsored Posts to Win the Millennials

The chattering classes were all abuzz yesterday about a sponsored post on everyone’s favorite site to visit for kitty pic listicles and condescending literary rants. (Wait, what?)

Here’s the story: In an amusingly blatant attempt to push its talking points to those young folks who will determine the future of politics in this country, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation illustrated its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with BuzzFeed‘s trademark combination of one-liners and GIFs.

OMG CUTE LOL! But will it work?

We say meh. :-/

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Woodward-Gate: Flack ‘Threatens’ Hack, Internet Explodes

All the President's MenHave you been following the latest, dumbest political media scandal? We hope you answered “no”, because this one is a real doozy. It’s a classic case of “hack” vs. “flack” that will feel very familiar to anyone who has spent some time in PR or journalism.

To summarize: Bob Woodward, the veteran reporter who was one-half of the team that exposed the Watergate scandal leading to Richard Nixon’s resignation, had a mildly testy exchange with a White House rep over the pending “sequester” drama. Essentially, if the two parties can’t agree on a mix of new revenue and spending cuts, a big rash of cuts that they set up last year precisely to avoid this sort of showdown will go into effect. It’s basically President Obama versus the House of Representatives, so…politics as usual.

Alright, now what’s the “controversy”–and how does it relate to PR? Glad you asked!

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Voters to Pols: TV Attack Ads Are Soooooo 2008

Negative election season ads are about as American as Ford trucks. We don’t necessarily like it when politicians interrupt our favorite sitcoms and sporting events with inflammatory messages, but we seem to accept the fact that it’s going to happen every other November, right? Well, maybe not.

The 2012 election will be the most expensive in history. By the time it’s through, an estimated $6 billion will be spent on various PR efforts by presidential and congressional candidates, and most of that money will go to buying time for TV ads. The problem? Fewer and fewer Americans are actually paying attention.

According to a Say Media study covered in Ad Week, the number of potential voters who watch live TV is steadily decreasing as more consumers watch video on their own time via DVR and streaming services. This trend only heightens the challenges for political PR teams desperate to reach undecided voters (is there really such a thing?).

Gee, we can’t imagine why Americans would get sick of commercials like this one:

Or this one: Read more

Whoops: Anti-Semitic Hungarian Politician Discovers He’s Jewish

Anyone remember that episode of the Chappelle Show about a blind African American white supremacist? Apparently, the idea wasn’t so far-fetched. Take the story of Csanad Szegedi, a (now former) leader of Hungary’s Jobbik Party–an organization that sprinkles its campaign materials with overtly anti-Semitic messages. In his heyday, Szegedi railed passionately against the “Jewishness” of the political class, and his party’s presidential candidate reportedly referred to Israeli Jews as “lice-infested, dirty murderers.” Have you guessed the punchline yet? That’s right, Szegedi recently discovered that his mother was Jewish, which officially makes him a Jew–or, in the eyes of his party’s current presidential candidate, fifty percent dirty murderer.

Turns out that his grandmother survived Auschwitz and his grandfather spent time at several labor camps (!). Read more