Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where did Maverick's media mojo go?

Reporters can be arrogant jerks, but in press relations as in any other business, "the customer is always right" -- it's not smart for campaign aides to get snippy with the media:

(Via Memeorandum and HuffPo.) Some of my best friends are publicists, and I've sometimes given people advice on P.R. One thing I try to explain is that reporters generally pride themselves on their haughty disdain for P.R. people, and if there's any thing that gets on a reporter's nerves, it's being jerked around by some miserable flack.

Yeah, I said the f-word: flack, an epithet for P.R. people that reporters use in the newsroom with a tone of complete contempt, e.g., "Can you believe the nerve of these people? I called to set up an interview with the administrator, and that stupid flack didn't even know when the guy was going to be back in his office. Send me a press release offering the guy for an interview, and the moron doesn't even know her own guy's schedule."

The fact that McCain's flacks are both females is typical of the current trend. At some point, a couple of decades ago, somebody got the idea that "public relations" was a job for pretty girls with nice smiles and no brains -- a friendly, chirpy "spokesperson" -- and never mind if they actually know how to write a press release or deal with reporters.

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