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  • GM’s Barra Bars Broadcast Media

    GM crash

    General Motor’s Mary Barra admitted this week that, “something went wrong with our process…and terrible things happened.”

    And while that is certainly true and laudable for the new CEO of the auto giant to admit her company mishandled some safety issues for 13 years, saying she is deeply sorry is not quite enough.

    Yesterday, she held what GM described as a news conference but, according the the WXYZ-TV report below, only handful of print reporters were invited, slamming the car door on  local Detroit stations and the national news networks.

    There are times (particularly when dealing with good news situations) when companies can play favorites. But when you are in a hole like GM — you can’t afford to annoy major parts of the media.

    Inviting only selected media reminds us of the Tiger Wood’s debacle of a “Press Conference” when he was trying to dig himself out of a shameful image disaster. Woods invited only “friendly” reporters,those whose livelihoods depend on access to the golf pro – and he did not take questions.

    Barra did take some questions yesterday but by excluding broadcast media she gave the impression that GM has something to hide…it was a backward step in what she called “the journey to resolve this.”

    “As a member of the GM family and as a mom with a family of my own, this really hits home for me. We have apologized, but that is just one step in the journey to resolve this,” Barra said.

    Too bad she didn’t invite the broadcast media along for the ride.

  • NYC Mayor Shooting the Messenger

    Count on Mike Bloomberg to use a canon when a peashooter would do.

    Bloomberg, a big gun control (or he would say “crime control”) proponent was talking to the media at an event yesterday sparked by the Sikh shooting in Wisconsin.

    A local WPIX-TV reporter tried to press him on the city’s sale of 28,000 pounds of spent ammo casings from the NYPD gun range — to a weapons dealer in Georgia. As you can see in the video below, Hizzoner is not buying any connection between the sale of this “scrap metal” and his long-standing position on gun control.

    When the reporter pressed for an answer, Bloomberg bristled. “Either you want to ask a question and I give you an answer, or please come to the next press conference and stand in the back,” Bloomberg told the reporter. “I’m happy to answer your question, thank you very much. But I’ve given you the courtesy and I expect the same courtesy. Thank you very much

    Bloomberg has the right to demand an opportunity to finish his answers — but by scolding the reporter and telling her in the future she can stand (presumably mute) at the back of his press conferences — he overshot the mark. h/t Fishbowl NY

  • Exit Pols

    Location, location, location.  Where you have a press conference can be nearly as important as what you say.

    Yesterday, nearly the entire senior staff of New Gingrich’s presidential campaign resigned en masse.

    Today he fired back — from his backyard.

    It is commonplace for there to be an occasional staff shakeup on even the most successful campaigns.  But mass mutiny is rarely a good sign about someone’s leadership skills. 

     So it was incumbent on Gingrich to come out today and try to put the best possible spin on the fact that his paid staff no longer supports him.

    His message was this:

    “Let me just say that there is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community, and the kind of campaign I want to run. Now, we’ll find out over the next year who’s right. But I believe we live in a time when Americans are genuinely frightened for their country’s future, and when the country really wants to have leadership that talks with them honestly, and isn’t automatically doing the old politics.

    Addressing whether (third) wife Callista was part of the problem, Gingrich said:

    “We make decisions as a couple. I think most couples would find that refreshing, not a problem, and I think that what we’ve been trying to do is carry messages to the American people and listen to the American people. And you’ll see us over the next few weeks doing it in new and dynamic and much more open ways than the traditional consultants are comfortable with.”

    The former Speaker chose to speak on the lawn outside his home in McLean, Virginia.  If someone were trying to demonstrate that he still had a functioning, professional campaign — and that he was not being dictated to by his wife — it might be best to hold a press conference somewhere other than in your backyard.

    We would have recommended that Gingrich use a more traditional and professional setting — but since he has made it clear that he pays no attention to the “traditional consulting community” –he probably would have ignored our advice anyway.

    Back in May, we predicted that Gingrich would abandon his faltering campaign within days.  We were wrong.  We also failed to predict that his campaign would abandon him.