Tag Archive: Ketchum Public Relations


These are not the best of days for American reporters, editors and correspondents, let alone journalism schools.

The American media is running eight points behind Donald Trump in national esteem.

This Gallup result was registered before CNN’s Anderson Cooper conjured up the impression of the president taking a “dump” on his desk. Ditto for the network’s Kathy Griffin holding up the image of the decapitated head of Donald Trump.

The glory days of Walter Cronkite, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are clearly in the rear-view mirror. The era of CNN and conjured presidential excrement and bloody heads are upon us.

More to the point, Newsweek ist kaputt. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is gone. Farewell to the Rocky Mountain News, The Tucson Citizen and so many others that depended on Gutenberg’s printing press for far too long.

Let’s face it: many Fourth Estate types (i.e., reporters, editors, correspondents, anchors …) are looking for jobs, any job that keeps them in the business.

The good news is China is hiring. The bad news is China is hiring.

Should these journalists succumb and work for Chinese-government-sponsored and operated media?

Dollars are dollars. Yuan are yuan. Right?

Ketchum, Putin and $55 million

Before getting knickers in a twist or bowels in an uproar, consider that Almost DailyBrett has posed similar questions about the august public relations profession, namely Ketchum PR.

For years, Ketchum served a provocative client, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, to the tune of $55 million cumulatively. The ostensible mission was to promote the Rodina’s “economic development” and the country as a great place for “investment.” The fact that Putin was behaving as one would expect from the former head of the KGB appeared to be irrelevant to the brass at Ketchum’s New York headquarters.

Reportedly Putin eventually terminated the nation’s contract with Ketchum, which may have been a blessing in disguise for the New York based agency. No longer would they have to register as foreign agents for Putin’s public relations nightmare in which he wasn’t going to accept Ketchum’s council anyway.

The advocacy side (PR) of the great communication divide is not the only one with moral dilemmas to confront. The same applies to the objective side (Journalism), particularly with so many journalists out of work or soon-to-be beating the bushes for another job.

According to The Economist, China expanded the number of foreign bureaus for its government-controlled main news agency, Xinhua, to 162 by the end of 2011. China’s goal is to establish a total of 200 Xinhua bureaus by 2020.Considering the many American media outlets are shutting down, does the Xinhua expansion – doubling its number of correspondents — provide new opportunities for employment?

Also consider that China completed the rebranding of its television network last year and has announced the formation of CGTN (China Global Television Network) to rival the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera to spread China’s “voice” and to “showcase China’s role as a builder of world peace.”

Just as Ketchum would be tempted to dismiss the concerns about Putin’s Russia with “a client is a client,” will unemployed or soon-to-be-out-of-work American journalists regard a potential opening at Xinhua or CGTN (e.g., major DC bureau) as “a job is a job”?

In a way that sounds just like the Yuppie Nürnberg Defense — “I was only doing it for the mortgage”  — as preached in the Christopher Buckley book/movie, Thank You For Smoking.

The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers the days at USC journalism school, and the protracted discussions about objectively and Joseph Pulitzer’s mantra of “Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy.”

Is Xinhua or CGTN, objective?

Are the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC or CBS objective, let alone MSNBC or Fox News? Many journalists employed by these institutions are miffed that  their “objectivity” may be somehow compromised by their employer’s corporate parent (e.g., NBC owned by Comcast).

What happens if your media employer is owned by the largest nation of earth, run by a single party, and established as part of that country’s $10 billion annual investment in soft power?

If objectivity and fairness are part of the personal DNA as a journalist, would she or he be predisposed to resign if the “editor” wanted to censure/delete submitted copy if it ran afoul with China’s policy toward Taiwan, the Dalia Lama, Tibet or some other hot-button issue for the totalitarian state?

Would the same journalist be comfortable that her or his objective copy was universally regarded as self-serving China propaganda by the vast majority of readers and viewers?

Some may be tempted to rationalize accepting a position with Xinhua or CGTN and following their “editorial” dictates as a job is job (e.g., Yuppie Nürnberg Defense).

Other journalists may not have these same flexible morals.

If the choice came down to aiding and abetting Chinese propaganda or maybe finding another job, maybe the journalist should even consider wearing a green apron instead?

“Was that a grande latte or mocha?”

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/has-the-media-reached-the-point-that-it-can-never-cover-trump-fairly/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2017/05/31/cnn-fires-kathy-griffin-over-offensive-trump-photo/102349176/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/russia-doesnt-give-a-particle-about-public-relations/

 https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/ketchums-new-client-in-1938/

https://www.ketchum.com/

https://www.economist.com/news/china/21719508-can-money-buy-sort-thing-china-spending-billions-make-world-love-it

https://www.cgtn.com/

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/

 

 

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“You say you want a revolution; Well, you know, We all want to change the world; You tell me that it’s evolution; Well, you know, We all want to change the world.” – The Beatles, Revolution

Sometimes it’s hard to provide PR advice to an accomplished hombre, who is 74-years young.

What do they say about: “Teaching an old dog new tricks”?Bernierevolution

Now before you accuse Almost DailyBrett of making aspersions about seasoned citizens, please weigh the fact that your author is on the cusp of this rarefied age group.

This particular epistle pertains to Senator Bernie Sanders (S-Vermont) not once — but actually twice — invoking a call for “revolution” during the course of his losing debate performance against Hillary Clinton, October 13.

And then this past weekend, Sanders doubled down on his summons for a citizen uprising with an airplane pulling the following streamer: “REVOLUTION STARTS NOW! FEEL THE BERN!”

The Saturday event was the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in first-in-the-nation caucus state, Iowa, to be held next February. Hillary Clinton brought along her beau, Bill, and conceivably he brought along Katy Perry.clintonsperry

In contrast, Bernie invoked visions of a Great October Socialist Revolution. Wonder what he will do for kicks on November 7? Are TJ and Old Hickory turning over in their respective graves?

Why even assess Bernie’s call for “revolution,” when conventional media wisdom points to Hillary winning the nomination in a cakewalk? Maybe, there’s something out there, which cannot be taken for granted, no matter how many times the word “inevitable” is employed. And that is the fact that the folks in retail states, Iowa and New Hampshire, are notoriously fickle, similar to herding cats.

What will actually happen in February, four months from now (a political lifetime), is not preordained. Let’s ask: Why is Bernie still conjuring up visions of Great Leaps Forward, little red books, collective farms, re-education camps and all-expense-paid, one-way trips to Siberia?

Honeymoon in the Rodina

Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case; Honey disconnect the phone; I’m back in the U.S.S.R. You don’t know how lucky you are boy,” – The Beatles, Back in the USSRcoopersanders

CNN’s anointed Wunderkind Anderson Cooper rubbed a few liberal … err progressive raw nerves with Bernie’s disciples when he asked during the debate whether Americans would actually elect a president, who honeymooned in the bucolic Soviet Union in 1988.

In response, the Daily Kos harkened back to the McCarthy-era (not Eugene) memory lane accusing the Clinton News Network anchor of “red baiting” Bernie about how he took his then-new bride, Jane, on a honeymoon beside the banks of the Kotorosi in Yaroslavl.

How romantic: hearing the balalaikas ringing out; keeping your comrade warm.

Cooper’s question envisioned a potential Republican attack ad against Sanders, which could “write itself,” conjuring up his support for the Sandinistas, opposition to capitalism and the couple’s romantic honeymoon behind the Iron Curtain.yaroslavl

Sanders didn’t even blink, pivoting to his tried-and-true attack on the system being “corrupt” and “rigged” against the middle class. Later he boldly called for revolution.

From a public relations standpoint does “revolution” work in Iowa and New Hampshire, let alone South Carolina and Nevada? Is Sanders a P.T. Barnum press agentry circus act with an aerial streamer buzzing overhead? Could he actually win the Democratic nomination and if he did, how could he put together a coalition that leads to 270+ electoral votes?

Asking Sanders to comb his hair (as opposed to the Donald Trump comb-over) is probably not in the cards. How about toning down the rhetoric, but not enough to aggravate his always excitable followers? What did Nixon say about running to the poles in the primaries and to the center in the general election? Sanders is taking the former to the extreme.

This exercise brings us to the heart of the question: Can one actually provide public relations, branding and reputation management to larger-than-life personalities including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Bernie Sanders?

Trump doesn’t seem to care what you think or say about him, just as long as you are thinking and talking about him 24/7/365. Be sure to spell the name right.

Ketchum Public Relations shamelessly received at least $55 million in fees from Putin’s Russia even as the dictator occupies the Crimea, his compatriots shoot down jet liners and props up an evil despot in Syria. Ketchum is way past the point of worrying about selling its collective soul (not referencing the band). That relationship was terminated by Russia this past March.

Back to Bernie: Is there a pragmatic bone in Sanders’ body? Does he really think that Revolutionary Democratic Socialism will sell in Peoria? His message may have a chance in Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Portland, but alas for Sanders there aren’t enough of these collectivist societies to propel the senator to the White House.

Pass the borscht.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-sanders-rally-their-iowa-supporters/2015/10/24/ce6b1216-79d3-11e5-a958-d889faf561dc_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-sanders-rally-their-iowa-supporters/2015/10/24/ce6b1216-79d3-11e5-a958-d889faf561dc_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3l_2m8l8Aw

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders

http://russiatrek.org/yaroslavl-city

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/the-politics-of-inevitability/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/the-silly-season/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/russia-doesnt-give-a-particle-about-public-relations/

 

 

 

 

“[Putin] does his own PR,” Angus Roxburgh, who worked on the account from 2006-2009, told the Daily Beast. “I can honestly think of nothing that Ketchum has ever done that has actually improved Russia’s image.”

“Our work continues to focus on supporting economic development and investment in the country and facilitating the relationship between representatives of the Russian Federation and the Western media,” a Ketchum spokeswoman told The Hill. “We are not advising the Russian Federation on foreign policy, including the current situation in Ukraine.”

That comment was made by Ketchum Public Relations after the Russian occupation of Crimea, and before last week’s surface-to-air (SAM) missile destruction of a Malaysian 747 (MH17) with nearly 300 innocent men, women and children on board.

ukrainianrebels

Here are some questions for Ketchum, a division of Omnicom, that are based on the cumulative impact of Putin’s invasion, the attack on a Malaysian 747 and subsequent cover-up activities:

When is Russia’s behavior just too much for your firm, prompting Ketchum to jettison your $55 million (and-counting) client?

Obviously an unprovoked invasion and a premeditated downing by Putin’s proxies of a defenseless airliner is not enough to trigger a termination of an agency/client relationship.

What will it take? A thermonuclear exchange?

Here’s another interrogative: What happens when a lucrative client (e.g., Russia) doesn’t give a particle about public relations? Do you still offer your best-and-brightest PR advice when your “client” will do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, PR consequences be damned?

Ketchum Has Some Explainin’ to Do?

“We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.” – Vladimir Putin in his Ketchum placed New York Times op-ed, Sept. 11, 2013

putin2

Ketchum is not advising Russia about foreign policy? Really? Any bridges that you would like us to buy?

A plain English reading of the Ketchum placed New York Times Putin op-ed is exclusively foreign policy, particularly the opposition to the United States’ stance toward Syria. The op-ed had nothing to do with “economic development and investment.”

Ketchum, much like its problem-child client, Russia, has some explainin’ to do.

Does the PR firm really think it’s making a difference when it comes to Russia’s brand led by former KGB-chief Putin?

Wonder how Ketchum would explain gulag re-openings, and resumption of forced deportations to Siberia? And who knows for sure that these activities are not already happening in 21st. Century Russia.

russia1

We do know from quantitative research that Russia’s brand is sinking fast.

According to Pew Research, Russia’s unfavorable views have jumped 29 percent in the United States, and by 20 percent in the European Union in the past year. Invading countries and having your paw-prints all over shot-down airliners is not good for your national brand.

It’s particularly noteworthy that Russia’s brand is down 27 points in Poland. Yes, the same Poland that suffered for decades under heels of Russian jackboots.

Cold War II?

“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.” — Vladimir Putin in his Ketchum placed New York Times op-ed, Sept. 11, 2013

The very same Pew Research survey demonstrates a massive negative shift in U.S. respondent opinions about Russia in the past five years. In 1999, 27 percent saw Russia as unfriendly; that figure rose to 44 percent this past March (before the downing of the Malaysian 747). Five years ago, 5 percent viewed Russia as an enemy; the March 2014 result was 24 percent.

Conversely, 44 percent regarded Russia as friendly, but not an ally, in 1999; that figure plummeted to 21 percent this past March. Conceivably the result is even lower now.

Assuming that Putin is aware of these figures does he even care? Or does he want to be seen as the macho hombre that restored greatness to Russia regardless of the consequences. Does he yearn for the good ole days of the Soviet Union? Notice these questions have zero to do with “economic development and investment.”

putin

For Ketchum, which preaches a commitment to corporate social responsibility or CSR, the firm is tied to a client that is a proverbial loose cannon. Putin’s Russia is becoming America’s adversary once again. Is Cold War II already here or just around the corner? Almost DailyBrett is not big on sequels.

Yes there are international PR firms that take money from tobacco companies, despite the fact that 400,000 Americans die annually from tobacco-related diseases, more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fires combined according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

If PR firms can represent tobacco companies with straight faces, allowing them to participate in the marketplace of ideas, why can’t a PR firm represent invading and (indirect) missile-launching Russia?

These entities (e.g., Big Tobacco, Big Russia) pay big bucks to tell their stories, even if they really don’t give a particle about public relations.

After all, God created all clients equally.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/07/18/russia-has-a-major-pr-problem/?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/03/17/U-S-Public-Relations-Firm-Bags-55-Million-Representing-Putin

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/ketchums-new-client-in-1938/

http://news.msn.com/world/us-outlines-case-against-russia-on-downed-plane

http://news.msn.com/world/us-vice-president-biden-says-putin-has-no-soul-new-yorker

http://www.ketchum.com/

http://www.theonion.com/articles/who-is-vladimir-putin,36515/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=Pic:2:Default

http://news.msn.com/world/us-no-link-to-russian-govt-in-plane-downing

http://www.ibtimes.com/malaysia-airlines-hired-putin-pr-agency-after-mh370-disappearance-1635740

 

 

 

 

 

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