Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan Williams Firing Helped Maintain NPR Image

The controversy of the week this time is the firing of Juan Williams from NPR after he said on the O'Reilly Factor:
Political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality. I mean, look Bill [O'Reilly], I'm not a bigot, you know the kind of books I've written on the civil rights movement in this country, but when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. Now, I remember also that when the Times Square bomber was at court, I think this was just last week. He said the war with Muslims, America's war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don't think there's any way to get away from these facts. But I think there are people who want to somehow remind us all as President Bush did after 9/11, it's not a war against Islam.

Sarah Palin and her crew are saying that it is proof of how the 'liberal media' is trying to stay politically correct. House Minority Leader John Boehner has called on Congress to stop funding the National Public Radio. I do understand their argument, but the opponents of the firing seem to forget one thing: NPR is a brand first and foremost.

NPR is a company with an image to maintain, if one of their commentators says something that can endanger the image they worked to build, I agree that they have the right (and need) to fire the employee in order to maintain the image. Just because NPR is publicly funded does not mean that it is not indifferent from any other company. Just like most employers, NPR expects its employees to say things that would not reflect poorly on NPR. Yes, Williams' words were his own opinion, but as the saying goes "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." NPR, I assume, wants to keep a pro-Islam image; if an employee says something publicly like what Williams did, it endangers that image.

In social media, there is an adage: "it takes hundreds of posts to build a reputation, but just one to ruin it."

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Take on the Debate

Carl Paladino's Campaign Manager Michael Caputo reportedly said that Jimmy McMillian (Rent Is Too Damn High) won tonight's gubernatorial debate. I would say it was a tie between all of the 3rd-party candidates. By no means am I endorsing any of the candidates, but if anyone watched the debate, all of the 3rd-party candidates provided great one-liners and gave innovative, new ideas. For example, Kristen Davis (Anti-Prohibition) thinks the state's fiscal crisis will be solved by legalizing marijuana and casinos; Charles Barron (Freedom) wants the Governor to control the MTA; Warren Redlich (Libertarian) wants the MTA to be made a private corporation.

I watched the debate recap by NY1 and WABC and the overwhelming response is that the 3rd party candidates won. I have to agree. The debate rules provided that each of the 7 candidates had equal time to state their cases. Paladino and Cuomo have dominated the airwaves and chose to hold their lines. The other candidates, I felt, said the things and the ideas, no one else wanted to say. Since they suddenly had the free airtime to promote their ideas, they put in the one-liners people would remember.

However, as each person responded to questions, the Cuomo campaign actually tweeted responses to all attacks and supplemented all ideas said during the debate in real time. In terms of new media, then, Andrew Cuomo won the debate.

Every candidate, I will admit, had good ideas. Each of them would pursue their plans in different fashions. Frankly, I like the fact that the debate wasn't limited to being just Cuomo vs. Paladino because political campaigns are supposed to be about the exchange of ideas and when candidates hear minority opinions, they have no choice but to answer to the public about the issues affecting the average Joe or Jane. Having open debates, I feel, keeps our democracy open and accountable to us in that no issue is off the table and every opinion is available to be discussed, debated, and scrutinized.

On a semi-un-related note: I was watching the debate with my parents. The camera came to Paladino and my mom saw how he was wearing a few plastic bracelets and asked about it. My father responded, jokingly, "He is out on parole." I found the line funny and I tweeted it (I have since deleted the tweet). After the debate, I saw this @ reply to me from Caputo "@seamuscampbell Paladino's bracelets were made by his daughter to remind him of her and his late son who died last year. Thanks, tho. #cuomo." I gotta admit, Caputo put me in my place and I do apologize for my insensitivity.

Best Quotes from the NY Govenor Debate

"Businesses will leave this state quicker than Carl Paladino at a gay bar." - Kristin Davis 

"The difference between the escort service I ran and the MTA is that I had one set of books and provided on-time, reliable service" - Kristin Davis

"The career politicians in Albany are the biggest whores in this state, I may be the only person on the stage able to deal with them" - Kristin Davis

"The Rent Is Too Damn High believes if you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry it" -Jimmy McMillian

NY used to have great government, it can comeback. I have most experience. Go Yankees in the meantime. -Andrew Cuomo 

I'm not a career Albany politician, I'm a builder - I scare them, that's why they call me crazy. - Carl Paladino