|December 14, 2009|
|Tiger Leaves Trail of Wreckage|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Tiger Woods is “flying the coop” and leaving an incredible trail of family and commercial wreckage in his wake.|
No one can put a price on the pain suffered by wife Elin and their two daughters and the families of Tiger and Elin.
The monetary damage to valued trade names like Nike is incalculable. The Nike “swoosh” symbol, which Tiger had to display even when touting other products, could come to stand for obsessive tom-catting.
Hundreds of insiders including reporters knew of Tiger’s wanton ways years ago.
Among other things, this was a failure of the intelligence-gathering function of PR.
We believe Men’s Fitness editor Neal Boulton when he says the National Enquirer was onto the story in 2007.
There is such a gap these days between the press and PR that it’s possible that none of the nearly one dozen Tiger sponsors knew of his philandering.
PR pros were much more knowledgeable in past decades when they hobnobbed freely with reporters. Reporters know plenty that’s not quite ready for print or air time but will share with trusted PR pros.
There is so much corporate distrust of PR now that having a reporter as a known friend can be career-ending.
PR people for blue chips like Nike, Pepsi, Accenture and AT&T should have warned their employers about Woods years ago.
Two schools are forming, one that says Tiger is finished as a corporate image tool and another that says, like Sports Illustrated, that people will forget and the “prying tabloids and websites” will eventually come to Tiger’s rescue “by replacing his scandal with someone else’s.”
What’s needed for starters are candid interviews by Tiger and contributions of mega-bucks to worthy causes.
Legislatures Are Tough to Change
The New York State Legislature is taking a lot of lumps these days.
New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser on Nov. 12 called the lawmakers “The Dumb, the Dumber, the Mentally Challenged, Morally Bankrupt and Outright Deranged—a collection of chowderheads, convicted criminals and impotent squirts whom we trust to run our state.”
She added: “To say state government is a circus is an insult to respectable clowns.”
Chiming in, NYP columnist Jacob Gershman on Nov. 25 called the legislature “bloated” with more than 2,700 employees while California’s legislature, twice the size, has 650 fewer employees.
Faced with a $3.5 billion shortfall, the New York lawmaking body can’t even control its own size, he wrote.
The one area where it shows restraint is ethics—spending only $160,000 last year on it.
The New York Times is no less a critic, headlining Dec. 9 that the legislature is “Indifferent, if Not averse, to Ethics Rules.” Writing about the conviction of former Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno on two federal corruption charges, Danny Hakim said the state’s ethics laws “often enable corruption and even help conceal it from the public.”
The legislature “shields itself from disclosure rules that apply to the executive branch,” said Hakim. He noted that Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver works for Weitz & Luxenberg, “the giant Manhattan personal injury firm,” but that what Silver does at the firm has been “an Albany mystery.”
At the federal level, there is chronic failure to pass needed campaign finance reforms. The NYT headlined on page one Dec. 7 that Congressional junkets paid for by private groups continue for some lawmakers and even their families.
The abuses outlined above have been going on for many years. It’s hard to get a legislature to reform itself absent a full-scale public revolt.
PR Society Assembly Is also Corrupt
The PR Society Assembly is thoroughly corrupt, undemocratic and dysfunctional and is incapable of reforming itself without member pressure or pressure from the PR community.
How bad is the Assembly?! It just passed a bylaw allowing proxy votes in which 56 proxy votes (22% of the total) were used. Proxy voting is a desecration under Robert’s Rules, which the Assembly pretends to follow.
But it’s a double desecration to use proxies to legitimize them.
At least half the delegates are APR which makes the Assembly unrepresentative of the 80% of members who are non-APR.
It’s no wonder the 2009 Assembly blocked a move to end the nearly 40-year monopoly APRs have on board and officer posts.
The bylaws revision process that PRS just went through was corrupt.
Ten of the 11 bylaws committee members were APR when only two APRs should have been on the panel.
Rank-and-file members were barred from submitting amendments, as advised by Robert’s. Only delegates could do so.
There were no face-to-face discussions of the proposed bylaws with rank-and-file members.
Teleconferences and e-mails were used. Robert’s advises a series of meetings for a revision and never the regular annual meeting. The Assembly did its revision at the regular meeting at which 3.5 hours of the nine-hour day were eaten up by leader speeches and a 1.5-hour lunch.
Instead of each article being presented to the delegates, as advised by Robert’s, only those articles for which amendments were made were presented.
The Assembly blocked rank-and-file members from hearing a live audiocast of the Nov. 7 meeting that was billed as the most important in PRS’s history. It cost “thousands of hours” of members’ time and probably upwards of $200K. The 2008 legal bill was a record $110K. The 2009 conference then had live audiocasts of PRS leaders and speakers, showing how easy this would have been.
Members never get to know how their elected delegates vote and the complete list of delegates is available only to delegates and then only in the week before the Assembly.
As of 2005, when proxies were first used after a lengthy debate, the Assembly stopped giving out audiotapes or transcripts of its meetings.
Although delegates are aware that similar bodies for lawyers, doctors, CPAs and psychologies all have ultimate power over their boards of directors, the PRS delegates refuse to take up such responsibility.
We lay the blame for dysfunctional undemocratic PRS at the door of the Assembly. It has allowed PR to be unwelcome in its own house. Legal, financial, marketing and association cultures dominate at h.q. which has only two experienced PR pros on a staff of 55 or so.
As for interest in ethics, PRS only spent $2,317 on that in 2008 which was a decline from $4,360 spent in 2007. Total spending was $11.4M.
The only way this cycle of corruption can be ended is if chapter leaders step forward and wrest control of PRS from the board or if enough rank-and-file members protest.
Coverage of this mess by the NYT, Columbia Journalism Review and others would help but politics of one sort or another is at work here.
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