The Other Oscars...the PR Razzies!

Welcome back!
Here we are in the Lone Star State in beautiful downtown Houston, Texas. Laura and I begin the week here - where we are doing a seminar Tuesday and then on to Philadelphia for another one on Wednesday before heading home.
 The past few weeks have been filled with seminars in Ottawa, Toronto and elsewhere. In between some media interviews - including an interview I did on CTV PowerPlay (here) about the communications challenges facing Canadian Senators (not the hockey-playing ones) and their residential expense claims.
The 'Other' Oscars
What did you think of the Oscars this year? Personally, I enjoyed watching them - although I'm a sucker for these broadcasts, I admit. Who triggered two of the spontaneous standing ovations? The over-70 Dame Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand! We watched the Oscar ceremonies from our hotel here, but on the same night, did you know that there was another top awards ceremonies that celebrated the strange and the not-so-good in public relations and communications at home and abroad? Yes .... the other Oscars....the PR 'Razzies'!

And the PR 'Razzies' Go To......
Franceso Schettino
'I have no regrets'
1. Lead Actor in a Disaster... goes to Francesco 'get back on board!' Schettino who marked the one-year anniversary of the Costa Concordia sinking by claiming "I have no regrets" and refusing to attend the memorial for the 32 victims.

Det. Hilton Botha
(not exactly as pictured)
2. The Peter Sellers Memorial Award goes to the South African police lead investigator Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha who was thrown off the Oscar Pistorius case when it came to light that he faces seven counts of attempted murder on an unrelated case. His 'errors' and 'blunders' as described by the judge has served to re-boot the Inspector Clouseau franchise.

Sen. Duffy Gives Back
3. The 'Better Late than Never' Award goes to Canadian Senator Mike Duffy, who after months of taking a beating on receiving $42,000 in expenses for his home in Ottawa by claiming his P.E.I. cottage was his principal residence, finally announced he will pay the money back. Duffy beat out 'Les Misérables' star Hugh Jackman. Said the former journalist in accepting the award, "I've suffered more than Jean Valjean, as he didn't have to deal with the Canadian media."
Lance Apologizes (sort of) to Oprah
4. The Lifetime Achievement Liar's Award goes to the incomparable Lance Armstrong whose two decades of lies, threats and lawsuits won him a two-night Oprah special - the ultimate victory lap. Academy members took note of his stunning acting ability to say he's sorry while obviously not meaning it.
5. The "Best Short Foreign Film Award goes to 'La pasta n'est pas française' produced by the Office Québecois de la Langue Français which tells the heroic story of a flat-footed language police officer in Montreal who fights the good fight to ban such Italian words as 'pasta' from restaurant menus. Although he fails in his bid, he vows to continue by perusing Chinese take-out menus in the soon-to-be-released sequel, "Vous dîtes 'egg roll' ... nous disons humiliation".

The Awards show ended suddenly when the replica of the crippled Carnival Triumph cruise ship - suspended above the audience - unexpectedly collapsed filling the auditorium with….well you’ll have to wait for the PR memorial highlight reel at next year’s telecast!

Until next time!


What's the Deal With....?

Welcome back;
It's been a busy week or so since our last post. Since then, Laura and I have done seminars in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, conducted our Thursday night course in Political Management and the Media at Carleton University's Riddell Graduate Program, and helped a few clients manage their crises. But it wasn't all fun, we had to work too!
What's the Deal with Piers Morgan? 
Has he jumped the shark?
Generally, I'm a fan of Piers and his show. He is quite fearless on subjects and usually doesn't suck up too much to the powers that be. Since the Sandy Hook massacre, however, he has decided to turn a large chunk of his prime time CNN show into an ongoing tirade on assault weapons. What do you think of that? I'm certainly in favor of sensible gun control and I don't believe that all rights are absolute. There are reasonable limits on weapons as there are on other 'rights'.
While one may applaud his passion and even his goal, I can't help but think that his single-minded 'mission' has created a 'jump the shark' moment in the life of his show. Hardly a night goes by without Piers Morgan Tonight hitting the subject. The danger zone is that people will start tuning him out as soon as they feel he is too predictable and too focused on driving his opinion vs. drawing out the views of his guest.
The fact that he plays up his British citizenship while debating Americans' Second Amendment rights doesn't help his case very much, but again, he doesn't let that faze him. Unless CNN intends to turn itself into MSNBC or Fox News, one would have to wonder what he's thinking? Can viewers now expect Piers to turn his program into a soapbox for some of his other 'passions'? Having said that, one does have to hand it to him - that at least he gives his opponents an equal chance to combat him and to state their cases (even the looney conspiracy nut, Alex Jones). It's a big departure, and Piers is a smart guy, so one has to figure he knows what he's doing.

What's with the Three Amigos - Senators Brazeau, Harb and Duffy?
Sens. Brazeau (CPC), Harb (Lib) and Duffy (CPC)

Given the mounting media coverage of the Senators' declaration of the location of their home residences, one has to wonder what they're thinking? The rules of the Senate are, that if their official residence is far enough from Ottawa, then they can claim expenses on their (second) home in Ottawa. However, all three Senators have declared that their main residences are not in Ottawa and, thus, they qualify for their claimed expenses. Hhmmm. All evidence seems to undermine those claims.Now it is reaching ridiculous lengths with stories about Senator Duffy asking for an expedited health card from the P.E.I. Minister of Health's office - triggering even greater media coverage.

What should the Senators do?
First, they should declare that they believed they were operating under the Senate rules as they apply to one's residence. Second, they should apologize and state that they now realize their claiming of expenses was not in compliance with those rules. Third, they should issue a cheque to the government to put the situation right. Finally, they should do it before the Senate Internal Economy Committee rules later this month. End of case!

I guess the lesson here is that people have to keep learning the same lessons over and over again.
Until next time......