The Spokesman

As an ex-journalist who became a spokesman, I think I'm never wrong. Keep Reading and you will be fine.

Lesson No. 37

Advice to my unborn daughter: A good education is priceless. But choose the wrong major in college and your degree may be worthless. 

Silence is Golden (Updated)

George Zimmerman should have stopped at launching a website soliciting donations and thanking his supporters. 

But he didn’t.

Zimmerman then contacted the special prosecutor investigating the Trayvon Martin shooting, prompting her to arrange a media briefing within the next 72 hours. He also reached out to ultra-conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity.  (Surprisingly, Hannity isn’t talking about the “off record” chat.)

It seems the only people Zimmerman doesn’t want to talk to is his lawyers.

In a strange news conference, his lawyers talked as if they had a better chance of spotting a Yeti than their client. They said Zimmerman wouldn’t return their calls, respond to emails or acknowledge texts. He also launched that website, which was a pretty good idea, without consulting his legal team.  

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NBC Today Hosts a Host (Updated)

Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest

NBC’s “Today” host Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest were part of a well-orchestrated PR stunt masquerading as broadcast news. 

It’s certain a bevy of journalists joined the morning show’s 5-million-plus viewers to learn more about speculative reports that Seacrest had been in talks with NBC’s glass offices about succeeding Lauer. 

The rumor was finally put to rest, though. Seacrest confirmed he was joining the NBC family, but for a Summer Olympics hosting gig in London, not “Today.” 

Update: Lauer’s anchor spot is secure. He signs a new long-term deal with NBC.

Seacrest had a little fun with the “interview” when a seemingly serious Lauer probed him about rumors he was chomping at the bit to join the lineup of the top-rated morning show.  

Lauer asked, “What kind of conversations have you had with NBC about joining the ‘Today’ show.” 

Seacrest responded, “Oh, didn’t they tell you?”

Very smooth. Viewers need not thank the segment producers for this bit of news. Instead, send all viewer comments to NBC’s corporate communications office. 

Responding to a Crying Wolf

The book “The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception” releases next week.

At the center is a woman who masqueraded as a 9/11 survivor under an assumed name, feigning injury and marriage to a husband who died in one of the World Trade Center towers.  

Her ruse helped place her at the helm of a nationally recognized support group of survivors. When she was exposed by a New York Times article in 2007, the survivor group unfortunately had to rebuild and forge ahead in the wake of an unimaginable deception.

That group, The World Trade Center Survivors’ Network, has endured and found a way to use the recent buzz of the book to highlight what is most important: the challenges 9/11 survivors had to face and overcome over the years.

The group’s statement is a solid response to expected media inquiries following the book’s April 3 release:

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Zimmerman Brother Breaks Silence - What Took so Long?

Trayvon Martin (Left) and George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman has dropped from sight in Sanford, Fla., since the Feb. 26 shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin (shown above, left).

Zimmerman’s decision to avoid public comment on the case is a solid one.

Consider this. Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer, is under federal investigation for accosting Trayvon before shooting him in what he claimed was self defense. A national movement has followed with famed civil rights leaders, influential politicians and celebrities calling for his arrest. 

Not only should Zimmerman not talk to the press, he should neither tweet or update Facebook.

But why did his brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., wait so long to break his silence. Until appearing on a CNN interview Thursday night, most of the country was unaware of Zimmerman Jr.

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Lesson No. 62

Advice to my unborn daughter: Never strike anyone, but always stand ready to defend. Never pick a fight, but always finish one.

Feeding Baby Like a Bird Ends Newsless Drought


Alicia Silverstone doesn’t need a publicist. She needs a reality TV show. Maybe the latter is the reason behind releasing Web video of the bird-like feeding of her son Bear. She chews up food and he sucks it out of her mouth. All together now. Ewww.

The “Clueless” actress is known for her healthy eating, but also her animal rights activism.  

PETA, Silverstone is your chief spokesman and poster child. Her son’s name is Bear and she nourishes him like an American bald eagle chick. PETA would be hard pressed to find someone better to embody its message.

Kudos for her and her media team for this bold new strategy for grabbing headlines, while testing the viewing public’s gag reflex.   

Lesson No. 221

Advice to my unborn daughter: If you want to work as a journalist like mom and dad, that’s OK. But don’t work for a newspaper, own one. (If papers still exist.)

Despite Capt. Meltdown, JetBlue is Flying Smooth

In responding to a veteran pilot’s freak out, JetBlue President and CEO Dave Barger is playing it right so far.

On NBC’s “Today Show” this morning, Barger kept his comments focused on how the rest of the flight crew safely handled the “medical situation” that Capt. Clayton Osbon caused.  

While the FAA investigation continues, the airline should keep their comments short on Clayton but long on how the unflappable crew reacted to the in-flight scare. If this drags on beyond the investigation, celebrate the quick actions of the so-far nameless co-pilot. 

JetBlue has had its share of public relation highs and lows.

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Seeing Envy Not Green

The New York Jets should be honest. Yes, Tim Tebow is a talented quarterback for the team’s reserves (and expected wildcat offense). But he is also potentially great for public relations, marketing and Gang Green’s fan base.

Jets owner Woody Johnson should have used the following statement when he first addressed the media about the coming of Tebow:

"We work for the fans and we are dedicated to winning games. You cannot deny Tebow’s ability to excite fans and bring positive energy, and we think he’ll compliment our leader Mark Sanchez."

Instead, the Jets said the decision to bring Tebow was purely a football move.


Why not recognize what Tebow’s growing popularity will do for public relations. Tebow has 1.42 million Twitter followers compared to the Jet’s 346,000. His biblical playoff run boosted ratings, revenue and the Broncos’ fan base.

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