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Moving the Goal Posts

March 1, 2013

So much for freedom of the press.  Bob Woodward’s ever-so-slight break from full support of President Obama’s every move has caused a fury of condemnation from the The Huffington Post, NPR and The New Yorker.

The overreaction is on par with the rape of the lock or maybe Jean Valjean’s theft of a loaf of bread.

Sequestration: Apocalypse Not.

February 28, 2013

The word “massive” hasn’t been abused this much since Viagara was launched.

CNBC noted that the “massive” budget cuts caused by sequestration would stunt the revival of the housing market.  The Chicago Sun-Times used the “m” word to predict the scale of travel delays … as if anyone ever flies in or out of Chicago on time, even without the sequester.

What the Heck Is Public Relations?

February 26, 2013

How would you define public relations?

Do your clients know what it is you do or are supposed to do?

Considering we’re supposed to be communications professionals, those of us in the public industry have done a miserable job defining what we do.

Why Not Set A $500-An-Hour Minimum Wage?

February 25, 2013

When Bob Cousy retired from the Boston Celtics after leading his team to five consecutive championships, he was earning $35,000 a year.  LeBron James raked in $44.5 million last year.

That’s 127,143% more than the Celtics point guard made.  And King James has won only one championship.  Even taking 50 years of inflation into consideration, that’s a mind-boggling differential in pay.

Yet we would consider it grotesque for the federal government to jump in and insist that the Celtics contribute millions in back pay to the Cooz … or demand a reduction in compensation for LeBron.

Sequestration. Whose Fault Is It?

February 22, 2013

Sequestration, the automatic spending cuts in the federal budget that will take place next month unless a deal is negotiated, is almost certain.  So whose fault is it?

President Obama came up with the idea of sequestration because of his inability and unwillingness to negotiate a deal to control deficit spending.

President Obama has presented budgets that were unanimously turned down by both the House and the Senate.

Whatever Happened to “Public Servants?”

February 21, 2013

Remember when government employees were called “public servants?”  When used at all, that expression today is used sarcastically to emphasize that the public is not being served by its government employees.

Those of us who work in the private sector have become the “public servants.”  Instead of government employees serving us for the good of our country, we’re serving the government.

No News Is Bad News – Part 2

February 20, 2013

It was encouraging to see our blog post, “No News Is Bad News,” receive 49 comments on the Public Relations and Communications Professionals LinkedIn Group site, especially since the comments were pretty perceptive.

While almost all of those who commented agreed with my assessment that most people are no longer interested in news, there was some optimism, too.  General conclusions are that:

  • Hard news is being abandoned for celebrity news and “human interest” fluff.
  • Media have assumed that this is what readers and viewers want, but it may not be true.
  • News reported on the Internet is often inaccurate.
  • Social information is replacing real news.

The comments speak for themselves.  Here are snippets from a few of them:

PR Peeves #6, #7, #8 and #9: Why News Is Boring

February 15, 2013

I previously wrote that news may be becoming passé (see “No News Is Bad News”).  Media is not blameless.

These are challenging times for reporters, editors, producers, public relations practitioners and others in the news business.  Addressing the following “PR peeves” would help rejuvenate the news business:

State of the Union: What Union?

February 14, 2013

Between his state of the union speech and his inaugural address, it should be clear by now to anyone with ears that President Obama is suffering from delusions of grandeur.

He’s going to save the environment, provide public education starting at age four, increase the minimum wage, tilt at more alternative energy windmills, fix the country’s infrastructure, provide stronger gun control, make it easier to vote and finally address immigration.

And yet he says that nothing he’s proposing “should increase our deficit by a single dime.”  Right.  And the Affordable Care Act is going to cut the cost of healthcare.

The Next Big Thing: Gender-Free Language

February 13, 2013

Pity the poor pronoun “he.”  No two letters strung together have caused more angst for a generation of writers than that simple pronoun.

It was once a man’s world, in which “he” ruled.  Then along came “gender neutral” language, one of the signature achievements of the baby boomer generation.  Awkward sentence constructions are its legacy.