walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Bloomberg coverage of Burson Marsteller/FB shenanigans

Paul Kedrowsky was sensible: kinda unimpressed, figures we "want to be scandalized" because FB is "virginal", but notes that FB is "tone deaf".

The followup included Nicholas Thompson talking about slimy and "three layers of irony. The other guy (not sure about his name) didn't seem to want to use BM's name. Thompson recalled BM being hired by Microsoft to do exactly the same thing and adds "they are acting in an evil way and they are not particularly skilled at acting in that evil way". It was unclear to me (and I listened to it three times) who precisely he meant by "they" (FB, BM, puppet masters who control us all from a distance, etc.).

Thompson has all the information to understand the issue: BM does this crap all the time and they are really blatant about it. But he isn't taking it to the next step: hey, it's getting a _lot_ harder to get away with this stuff now. And everyone is unwilling to name BM in the coverage, preferring to focus on FB.

I don't get it. Is there some kind of deal in place where news organizations have been muzzled by PR firms? (<-- That's me feigning naivety. Of _course_ there's a deal in place. Duh. The question is whether the same approach to avoiding unwanted publicity -- money and quid pro quo -- from broadcast and cable media has any chance at all with the petri dish that is blog journalism.) It should be obvious that when FB hires BM to try to get Google into trouble by ratting them out on privacy issues, FB is _not_ determining the precise tactics used by BM to accomplish this task. I'm pretty sure the folks at FB are smart enough that if they had known in advance what BM was going to do and how they were going to do it, they wouldn't have hired BM. That, in fact, is where tech companies like FB (and Microsoft before them) _are_ virginal. They still believe that someone out there has some kind of magic get-away-with-it social touch and are willing to pay money to purchase this supposed skill/art/magic.

How wrong they are.
Tags: scandal

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