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Sunday, October 25, 2009

A PR LINE CROSSED

Warning: This blog is not a White House-approved news outlet.

ANYONE with ANY interest in the media, or ANY involvement in PR, should be following the White House's attack on Fox News Channel with great and careful interest.

I've done my share of "aggressive" PR over the years so I understand what the deal is here. But, I'll also say, this is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen --and it's as sure to backfire as a '68 Buick.

To try to take down an opponent by attempting to undercut his/her/its legitimacy and credibility is nothing new. I admit: I've done it myself. To try to slap a tag on Fox News as not being a "real" news-gathering organization, however, crosses a line that's as wide as the front straight at Pocono. EVERY other news outlet, and journalist, should be offended. And say so.

Of course, those designations are no longer clear-cut. These days, when the choice is between defending a Constitutionally-protected profession or a cable food fight, well, the children outnumber the adults.

I'm not especially a Hannity fan and don't always agree with O'Reilly. (At least he allows guests who disagree with him, as opposed to the Hater-In-Chief, who accepts only members of his Hallelujah Chorus.) But, come on now, please, are we to swallow that MSNBC IS a legit news organization? The one that features the Hater-In-Chief (who actually called someone else "nuts" the other night) and the Ego-for-the-Ages? And any objective scrutiny will reveal the liberal bias of, let's use Andrea Mitchell as our example, which is well displayed on cable, does carry over into the laughably titled "straight" news on NBC. Which is presided over by Brian Williams, who masks his bias by saying he's a NASCAR fan. Not long after a week-long, networks-wide series promoting the benefits of Green (parent company GE stands to make billion$ off of these government programs), last week, they did it again, promoting an agenda under the guise of women's role in our society. As part of its so-called "reporting," not-ready-for-cable-access White House reporter Savannah Guthrie embarrassed herself yet again in interviewing the president.

CNN is legit? Here's a network which fact-checked a semi-critical Saturday Night Live skit on President Obama, but couldn't be troubled to verify a false quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh. The centerpiece of Campbell Brown's nightly train-wreck is called the "Mash-Up." That's inspiring.

The White House attack is the design of the Chicago street-fighter chief-of-staff, a communications director who said in a speech she admires Mao, and a press secretary constantly spinning his mental wheels.

Where's the outrage among the supposed professional journalism organizations? (A little credit, when Fox was banned from a standard "pool" interview last week, others did resist.)

Here's what this REALLY is about: For decades, the anchors and executive producers of the Big Three network news divisions would take their news cue off of what was on Page One of the New York Times. But, recently, FNC has been breaking stories too powerful to keep out of the public consciousness -- and the White House wants to stop others from following the FNC lead.

And, respectfully, Mr. Obama best remember this: He was elected to be president of all the American people. He's acting like he's refusing to be president of the Fox audience.

Anyway -- watch closely what's happening in Washington and learn -- the way it should NEVER be done. How petty -- and stupid. (!)


FAST LINES: As a baseball fan (and former member of the Baseball Writers Association) I have to say TBS' Chip Caray was as bad in the booth as the umpires on the field during the playoffs. I hate it that ESPN is out of playoffs coverage. And, Fox, please lock Darrell Waltrip in a room to watch Tim McCarver tapes so he can learn how expert analysis is supposed to be done . . . In case you haven't noticed, NASCAR's favorite, USA Today, has been reducing its coverage. In general, somewhat shorter stories, with less-prominent placement. And, some days, nothing . . . MSNBC airhead Contessa Brewer last week read an introduction to Al Sharpton but got this response -- "I'm the Rev. Jesse Jackson." Brewer -- "The script in front of me said Al Sharpton." I remember watching when a NASA administrator upbraided Brewer for her brainless questions. As a PR rep, I would turn-down any interview request from Brewer or her producers out of respect for my client . . . If Bob Griese really knew his NASCAR, he would have said Juan Pablo Montoya was out eating one of Martinsville Speedway's famous Jesse Jones hot dogs . . . The Arizona Motorsports Hall of Fame has officially taken that honor back from Mel Martin, who sold Manzanita Speedway. This was a mistake. Future HoF candidates might wonder if they should accept as now Pandora's Box has been opened and they could face the embarrassment of having the honor taken away . . . I'll be NHRAing this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Here's the best column of the year, no surprise, from Ed Hinton on ESPN.com:
http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=hinton_ed&id=4584736


The American Media, October 18, 2009: Rob D'Amico, Fox and SPEED radio host, guesting on Wind Tunnel, regarding NASCAR's post-race inspections of the No. 48 and other cars. "They're all cheating." Of course, NO FACTS were offered to back-up this superficial-yet-inflammatory remark. Where are the network standards? Where is the accountability?


Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EDT, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

October 28 -- A.J. Allmendinger. Panelists: Dave Kallmann, Lewis Franck. Plus, Paul Page.

November 4 -- Mark Kent (GM Racing manager). Panelists: Bob Pockrass, Dave Argabright. Plus, World of Outlaws championship leader Donny Schatz.

November 11 -- Robby Gordon. Panelists: Bill Fleischman, Jim Pedley. Plus, Dave (The King) Wilson.

November 18 -- NHRA Funny Car or Top Fuel champion. Panelists: Mark Armijo, John Sturbin.

[ A.J. Allmendinger news nugget Thursday . . . ]