PR Debacles and How to Avoid Them
In last Thursday’s edition of this e-zine about Jay Leno—and knowing how to communicate using different media—I failed to include a very important takeaway point:
* Never trust a television studio. You never know when your mike is live and picking up your stupid comments, or the camera is on you while you are picking your nose—or both.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, spiritual and moral adviser to President Bill Clinton—and a man who fathered a child out of wedlock, paid her $40,000 out of his nonprofit corporation and once referred to New York City as “Hymietown,” an anti-Semitic slur—is in the limelight once again. He was caught on camera last week with a live microphone saying, “See, Barack’s been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off.”
The cable news folks had a field day, and Jackson was forced to apologize to the presumed Democratic nominee.
The word “nuts” made Jesse Jackson look like a chump.
On Dec. 22, 1944, the word “nuts” turned an obscure U.S. Army brigadier general into one of the great heroes of World War II.
The Battle of the Bulge
In the winter of 1944, when Allied forces were clearly winning the war, Hitler ordered one last-ditch, surprise assault. In the pivotal town of Bastogne in the Ardennes Forest of Luxembourg, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division was surrounded. It was the worst winter in years. The weather was so bad that air support and resupply were impossible. The beleaguered Americans were under siege by a vastly superior force and running out of food and ammunition. Gen. Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz sent a party of four German soldiers waving a white flag into the U.S. headquarters to demand that the Americans surrender immediately or face obliteration. The acting commander was Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, who said, “Surrender? NUTS!” A formal message was typed up and handed to the German delegation: