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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Reich N.O.W.

It is commonly stated that Public Relations has drastically changed history and society. Nothing could be truer than in regards to the so called “revolution in the 1960s.  Public Relations was chiefly responsible for the both the genesis and the outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement and Feminist movements during the 1960s in the United States. For the Civil Rights movement in particular Public Relations strategy was an integral part in all aspects. There have always been advocates against white supremacy prior to the 1960s, however the advent of television and other forms of communication greatly expanded the reach and frequency of the messages for justice. For the first time the entire world was able to overtly see the abuse and mistreatment of non white/black people that wasn’t in the form of a newspaper or post card. Speeches, marches, protests and violence were all broadcasted in their raw form to millions.

Although the main PR message of the Feminist movement was to “liberate” women, it can certainly be argued that the movement itself was another counter PR campaign to piggy back on, distract, conflate and ultimately slow down the Civil Rights movement in an essential PR bailout plan for white America. Betty Friedan was a prominent figure in 1960s feminist movement and certainly used PR to garner support for the movement. During the time of the rise of NOW and the Feminist movement, the civil rights movement was also gaining momentum and prominence. Friedan’s book “ The Feminine Mystique” presented the idea that women were tired of being relegated to being domestic suburban beings and having to live in the shadow of their male counterparts. One could argue that the very idea of the feminist movement in the midst of the Civil Rights movement was a racist tactic by white women to shift the focus from ending white supremacy in the US to actually expanding white supremacy by giving the white female even more power and authority, thus doubling the household income of whites. The so called “ Leave it to Beaver” suburban lifestyle was being portrayed by N.O.W. and the media as being oppressive to women , all the while this “lifestyle” was essentially being denied to black and other non white people. The same group of people who were denying basic human rights to others,  caused lynchings, condoned murder, rape and war , were now using Public Relations to claim victimization, and demanded even more power to partake in the white supremacy power structure.

 

One of the main lessons that can be learned when analyzing the Civil Rights and Feminist movements is that those who have access and control of the media are ultimately going to have the most success.  Also, it is evidenced that conflating issues and piggybacking off of strong social movements can be a very effective public relations strategy. It is also interesting to note that the advancement of technology dramatically influenced both of these movements, as television became the main stage for both of these movements to play out.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pun Intended

As of late , there have been several instances in which prominent journalists have gotten severely reprimanded for allegedly misspeaking and subsequently offending a specific interest group.  Last week’s blog entry was in regards to the highly debated decision to suspend CNN Journalist Roland Martin for so-called homophobic Tweets. This past weekend , ESPN editor Anthony Federico  was promptly fired from ESPN for using “ chink in the armor” in the headline of an article about the current phenomenon of Knick’s star Jeremy Lin. There was an immediate and widespread outcry after the headline from sports fanatics and media outlets alike, and Federico was quickly canned for the supposed offensive slur.

In a seemingly desperate attempt to save face, and to perhaps have some sort of damage control , Federico took to his Twitter page and issued an apology and an explanation. Here is an excerpt:

“They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. “ – Anthony Federico, Twitter

Photo courtesy of the New York Post

I find a few things interesting about this incident and how it has played out. I find it interesting in comparison to the Roland Martin incident, there was little ambiguity or argument over the fact that Federico was being intentionally offensive, except from Federico himself of course. I do believe that this infraction might be a bit more blatant that the Roland Martin incident as well. I also believe that it was an interesting move on the part of Federico to use Twitter as an outlet to explain, at length, how he did not mean to offend anyone, and that it was an “honest mistake”. Giving a laundry list of good deeds ranging from organizing a coat drive for “those less fortunate” to “ volunteering in orphanages of Haiti”  seems a bit disingenuous to me and is the equivalent of a blatant bigot saying “ I’m not racist , one my best friends is ( blank).” It just doesn’t cut it and is a very specious defense.

When I first became aware of the incident, my initial reaction was “ wow, it’s about time”, as I always felt uneasy hearing the phrase used professionally , or otherwise, without a second thought. I always wondered how people were getting away with it in the first place. In a society where words are ultimately power, I believe this incident exposes how deeply offensive a lot of colloquial phrases and idioms have offensive connotations – whether directly or indirectly. At the very least it took jump on the bandwagon athlete of the week sensation to actually make the public think about it.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Roland with the Homies

The recent suspension of CNN journalist, Roland Martin, presents several interesting and controversial points to the surface. Martin’s suspension is a prime example of being a victim of both social media as a platform, and public relations agendas. For those of you who aren’t aware, CNN recently suspended Roland Martin indefinitely due to Tweets during the Super Bowl that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) found to be offensive:

“Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass

Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear! #superbowl

If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl”

Roland Martin

Roland Martin - Photo Courtesy of Euroweb.com

According  to GLAAD these Tweets were “homophobic” and therefore encourage violence against homosexuals. Martin retorted these claims by stating that he is not homophobic and that the tweets were not intended to incite any harm towards homosexuals and was only in jest. CNN subsequently suspended Martin indefinitely for the tweets.

I personally have mixed feelings about CNN’s decision to suspend Martin. On one hand , it’s understandable from a PR perspective  for CNN to present itself as a so-called politically correct organization that does not tolerate harmful threats towards certain interest groups, and respects the sensitivities of the groups.  On the other hand, CNN also presents itself as a pushover organization that will bend to the whim of certain political agenda’s while being ready and willing to throw its staff under the proverbial bus, without analyzing the details. For one of the largest and most reputable news organizations on the planet, I find the actions to be a bit ridiculous.

What details needed to be examined by CNN? Perhaps the fact that the Tweets were personal and certainly not work related – although it is true that Martin represents CNN in all of public communication. Also, none of the Tweets actually present a “harmful threat” to homosexuals, nor were homosexuals as a collective even mentioned in any Tweet. Perhaps Martin is not a fan of H&M and therefore was joking about “smacking” someone for being excited about the commercial. Perhaps he thought the pink suit looked tacky (I certain think it does). I personally do not believe his tweets warranted a suspension, which makes me question if the personnel that decided to suspend him even fully thought about what was being said and the context in which it was said.

We can learn several lessons from this incident.  One: If you have a high-profile career, it’s best to keep tweets and/or blog posts as neutral and objective as possible. We are all going to be held accountable for our words, even if our words are going to be misconstrued. Also, can learn that companies can sometimes hurt their image and appear easily influenced by certain interest groups, even if it’s at the expense of their employees. Somebody at CNN AND GLAAD needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

My (Anti) Social Media History

My love-hate relationship with social media started over ten years ago when I first started seriously using the internet. When I first started using the internet personally, this was when I was about 12 years old, I immediately started using chartrooms. At the time I was a diehard pro wrestling fan, and really wanted to connect with other like minded individuals.  I found the experience exciting and intriguing. Connecting with , and speaking to others from around the globe about similar interests was just an amazing experience. I had never before felt that I had the world at my fingertips, and in many ways it was the most socially liberating of my life at the time. I then continued to use such instant messaging services such as  MSN, AOL ( AIM), and Yahoo.  I still use AIM to this day. By the way , I can not stand when people literally call it ” A. I. M.” instead of AIM. When I attended boarding school for high school , much of the access to the internet and different forms of social media were limited by the administration. I only had instant messenger access.

When I entered college in 2004 , I was truly able to dive head first into the modern social media world – almost head first. I started off joining Facebook as a freshman in college. At the time Facebook was exclusively for college students , and even only specific colleges had access . The exclusivity of Facebook at the time made it more attractive to me than the more popular MySpace , which I believed was less mature and less refined than Facebook. I always had a negative view of MySpace , as I believed it was mostly for self-centered individuals looking for attention and/or companionship. My slight cynicism for some social media at the time extended to blogging. During my college years , 2004-2008, blogs and blogging exploded.  Mostly everyone that I personally knew had to have an online journal/blog to essentially express their thoughts and opinions online. I absolutely refused to jump on the bandwagon , as I felt it was just more immature, self-serving nonsense.  My personal slogan in regards to personal blogging was “ get over yourself”.

However, as time passed on and social media itself evolved , matured, and expanded , I began to see the practicality of social media. I began to realize that blogging could be used to entertain, inform, and share information. I eventually got over the expansion of Facebook to include the general public, and still respect its slightly refined user-interface.  Last year, I began using LinkedIn as a viable professional tool to help advance my career and network. I also started using Twitter to follow many of the people and organizations that I believe have constructive information to share. I believe that as I grew as a person socially , so has my use of  social media, and despite some of my qualms and peeves about it, social media has absolutely changed and enhanced my life. It has allowed me to listen to the opinions of others while being able to voice mine. I have been able to keep in contact with important family, friends, associates and colleagues . I have also been able to find and experience many meaningful relationships with people who I otherwise wouldn’t even know existed. As much as I admire my social media history, I am absolutely anxious to see what my social media future holds. It will be interesting indeed.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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First Post

This is my first post on WordPress. I’m certainly impressed with the amount of tools and customization options WordPress provides. This should be a very interesting experience.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Uncategorized