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  • Put a Fork In Weiner’s Flack

    Life can be tough when you are a spokesperson for a person, organization or campaign which is being ripped in the media. The most important thing you can do is project calm under fire.

    Apparently that message hasn’t gotten through to Anthony Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan.  Admittedly, Ms Morgan is under a lot of pressure.  How would YOU like to have “Anthony Weiner’s Communications Director” on YOUR resume?

    There is an article in the New York Daily News by a former Weiner intern, Olivia Nuzzi, which claims that many Weiner staffers joined the campaign only to get close to the candidate’s wife, Huma Abedin, in an effort to parlay that into a connection for the Hillary for President 2016 campaign.

    There were a few other shots at Weiner (for example he couldn’t remember the intern’s names) — but on the list of accurate and negative things said about the candidate, the article would not break the top 100.

    All this seems to have been lost on Weiner’s spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan, who (unless some prankster was impersonating her) told the blog “Talking Points Memo” that Nuzzi is an attention seeking “bitch” who sucked at her job.

    Morgan (who by the way, clearly sucks at HER job) went on to use  terms like “f***ing slutbag,” “tw*t,” and “c*nt,”

    Way to go Barbara.  Good way to endear the campaign to the voters — and to convince the public that all this unpleasantness involving Weiner is behind us.

    Morgan also threatened to sue Nuzzi (for what is unclear.)  Sounds like the tactic that worked so well for Asiana Airlines.

    It is (way past) time for Weiner to take his classy act and its supporters — and head for the exit.

    UPDATE:  Morgan now says “In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off-the-record conversation….”

    At 15-Seconds, we tell clients there is no such thing as “off-the-record.”

  • S.D. Mayor Filner Should Consider Moving On Up to the East Side

    San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is about as good as handling a crisis as he is wooing the ladies.

    In case you missed it, about two weeks ago, three of Filner’s long time supporters held a press conference to call for his resignation because of “credible” allegations that he sexually harassed women.

    In response — Filner issued a DVD.  What?  Apparently he wanted to avoid questions so much he wanted to handle his denial via Netflix.  In the recording, Filner admitted that he sometimes treated women poorly and intimidated them — but that a fair investigation would show there was no sexual harassment.

    Since then, one-by-one, and then in groups various women have come forward to describe Hizzoner putting them in headlocks, licking their faces, grabbing their rear ends.  Perhaps his next DVD should be put out by the WWE.

    Soon there was a lawsuit by Gloria Allred — as inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise.

    While all this was going on — various members of Filner’s staff resigned, the twice-married Filner’s latest fiancée broke off their engagement and leaders of his own Democratic party are calling for his head.

    After a couple weeks of literally running from the press, Filner decided today to face them and speak out.  How’d that go?   Not so good.

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    The mayor announced that he would take a leave of absence for a couple weeks in order to receive some “intensive counseling.”  Then he would return to the job.  About that point the PA system failed.  When it was slow to return…the mayor beat a retreat until the audio could be restored.  Once it was — he tried the charlatan’s trick of trotting out all the lame excuses that you know in his heart — he would like to offer.  Such as….”…it is simply not acceptable for me to try to explain away my conduct as the product of the standards of a different generation.”  Correct.  But he rolls that weak excuse out there just in case.

    After completing his statement, Filner turned his back on the media and departed.

    Had he faced the press and made a convincing apology two weeks ago, he might have been spared the embarrassment of woman after woman going on TV describing his appalling behavior.  Instead he tried to string things out.  You can bet whenever he goes out in public for the near future — the media will be there asking question — questions he has yet to answer.

    So what is our PR advice to Filner?  Resign….and move to New York.  You may have an elective future there.

  • The folks at SeaWorld had a whale of a dilemma

    The aquatic theme park outfit gets harpooned in a new documentary film called “Blackfish” according to the NYT.

    The film, which opens in New York and LA today, reportedly accuses SeaWorld of mistreating its orcas — sometimes to the point of inducing “psychotic” behavior in them.  “Psychotic killer whales” is not the image that SeaWorld is going for.
    Organizations speared by negative articles/reports/movies face an age-old conundrum: 
    Do you push back and invite more attention to the criticism?  
    Or do you keep your head under water and wait for the wave of criticism to pass.
    SeaWorld is electing to counter attack.  The NYT reports that the company has sent out  a lengthy critique of the movie to film critics likely to review it.  They are going after the filmmaker suggesting that she deceptively edited testimony of SeaWorld executives that is used in the film and relied heavily on former trainers who had little or no experience with the whale they talk about on camera — Tilikum — the orca which killed one of its trainers in 2010.
    The Blackfish folks fired back.
    The most difficult thing about deciding to bite back at your attackers is the certain knowledge that they will love it.  Let’s face it — had you ever heard of “Blackfish” before?  Neither had we.  But now it is splashed across the pages of the New York Times and is getting priceless promotion.
    When deciding to fight back organizations need to balance their options carefully — but when you decide to resist, you should go “all in.”  Half measures don’t work.
    We teach our clients that there are some issues where they MUST fight back.  These are issues where the attack has gone after the essence of your organization.  SeaWorld is all about showing the public the wonderful creatures of the sea.  If they allow filmmakers to successfully establish the impression that they treat Shamu shabbily — they might as well pull the plug.
    We say:  Well done SeaWorld