Date: July 6, 2009 10:32:18 AM EDT
Subject: Do It Tuesday!
To our valued clients:
I apologize for the mass nature of this e-mail; as you know, under most circumstances, we at Manhattan Image Consulting Enterprises pride ourselves on our highly personalized brand of customer service. However, we have just become aware of a development that could affect politicians, business executives, celebrities, and anyone else in the public eye—in short, people like yourselves, our valued clients. It is a situation that, if exploited effectively, could also be of immense benefit to your public images.
This Tuesday, July 7, the American media will effectively suspend their coverage of current events in order to cover the funeral of deceased singer Michael Jackson. According to our sources, the major cable channels will be operating under a de facto news blackout between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. EST (though they will effectively suspend the majority of their news coverage for the entire day); print, radio, and Web outlets may offer abbreviated news coverage during that period, but will likely join in with their cable counterparts in suspending their broad coverage of the bulk of the day’s news.
In short, American news consumers’ loss can be your gain. As you know, we at MICE advocate strongly the strategy of preemptive disclosure: we generally advise clients who have engaged in the kind of perfectly understandable behavior that the media nonetheless love to attack—tax evasion, extortion, attending NAMBLA conferences thinking they were meetings of the North American chapter of the Montgomery Burns fan club—to disclose that information to the public before the media discover it on their own. Our Bristol Palin Strategy™ not only diffuses so-called “unsavory” information in the eyes of the media, and lets you set the terms of your own messaging; it also provides an opportunity for the skilled public relations professionals at MICE, by stressing the “voluntary” nature of the revelations in question, to frame the confessions as evidence of our clients’ personal strength and moral courage.
The strategy, when employed, is 83 percent effective—though, as deployment of the BPS is normally hindered by legal, perceptional, or other attendant concerns, it is also rarely used.
Tuesday’s news vacuum, however, will offer a rare opportunity for our clients to enact the BPS en masse. MICE’s Cats Away!™ strategy will allow you to explain yourself without the typical hassles of media moderation. Are you back on oxycontin? Tell it on Tuesday! Have you visited your mistress on the taxpayers’ dime? Yell it on Tuesday! Is that mistress a mister? Come out on Tuesday! Are you an IRS official who doesn’t pay taxes? Bask in irony on Tuesday! Would the breadth of your corruption put Nixon to shame? Brag about it on Tuesday! Have you fathered a love child with your campaign “videographer,” yet been wary to admit your paternity? Admit it on Tuesday! Have you resigned your governorship midway through your term, thus far failing to provide your constituents or the rest of the country with a coherent explanation for doing so? Explain yourself on Tuesday!
Broken laws? Sexual perversions? Political ineptitude? General hypocrisy? Tuesday! Tuesday! Tuesday! Tuesday!
We at MICE view this, in short, as a wonderful opportunity to convert something that is normally a liability for public figures like yourselves—that is, the split-second news cycle—into an asset. The beauty of the Cats Away!™ strategy, as we see it, is that by the time the media remember their responsibilities and go back to doing their jobs, any revelation you may make during Tuesday’s no-accountability window will already be old news. For the media, the only thing worse than missing a big story is reporting one after it’s gone stale.
Which means that, for us, Tuesday can be a win, win!!!
Thank you for reading, and we look forward to the continuation of our productive partnerships as we convey our messages directly to the American people.
Stu Van Winkle
Vice President, Media Strategy
Manhattan Image Consulting Enterprises
Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.