Marriott logoChris Matthews, noted for blasting out his opinions on one subject or another, is strangely silent on a subject dear to our hearts -- Marriott Hotel guards twice blocking our coverage of PRSA events at its hotels.

Unless we wage a successful campaign, this will take place again in October in Philadelphia because Marriott is again the scene of the national conference.

msnbcMarriott hotels, which lack any on-the-scene PR people (we are pushed around by officious hotel managers), appear to have a lock on PR Society conferences.

Shouldn't one newsperson be alarmed and interested in another newsperson being treated like a trespasser?

Big Mouth Matthews, who regularly puts his foot in his mouth with over-the-top comments such as he was "glad" about Hurricane Sandy last fall because it helped Obama get elected (for which he apologized), has ignored our pleas for more than two years.

All he has to do is whisper them into the ear of his wife, Kathleen, 25-year veteran Washington, D.C., newscaster, who heads PR at Marriott. She has also ignored our pleas.

Matthews' Show Cancelled

Coincidentally, Matthews had his Sunday morning show cancelled this week after about ten years. A statement by him says he just signed a longterm contract with MSNBC and wants to have more time to write books.

The cancellation of the show brought numerous web comments including "It's about time Comcast did this" and the cancellation ends "a low-rated leftist propaganda show."

Imagine our chagrin when we picked up the July 8-15 New York mag and saw Matthews' mug staring out from an ad that positions him as a champion of democratic values.

"I want to democratize the way we make laws in this country," he is quoted as saying. "The more people who have a say in writing the law, the better the law."

That's a lofty but vacuous statement. Where's the beef?

If he had said something about the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council on lawmaking we would sit up and take notice.

It's probable that the Matthews' ad in New York was balm to him by Comcast after it cancelled his show.

If Matthews is such a believer in democracy, why hasn't he defended our right to cover the PR Society? We have received such support from the National Press Club and New York State Senator Liz Krueger.

Real journalists help each other. They don't duck phone calls and e-mails from other journalists. An excellent discussion of "Who's a Journalist" was conducted by University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds in the July 8 New York Post.

Campaign Needed to Bust Boycott

Matthews
Matthews
We're on our annual campaign to bust the PR Society boycott which continues in full force as evidenced by Society associate PR director Stephanie Cegielski Tweeting that she is "disgusted" with us, thinks we are "disgraceful," "vicious," "unethical" and have sunk to a "new low."

As with her predecessors at the Society, she dares not level such charges to our face because we have facts that would obliterate what she is saying.

Another part of the campaign to open the Assembly to all reporters and the entire conference to O'Dwyer reporters is seeking action by the co-chairs of the conference—Oscar Suris, PR head of Wells Fargo, the nation's fourth biggest bank, and Patrice Tanaka, a principal of CRT/tanaka.

They have lent their names to the Society and the Society should listen to them.

Suris thus far has returned one e-mail saying he is very busy. That was three weeks ago. Oddly, he is not even a member of the PR Society. It is desperate to link its name with major companies.

Tanaka contacted Society VP-PR Arthur Yann about ending the boycott and he told her that we had to contact Yann directly. We have been doing that for years without success but tried again on June 10. On June 13, Yann died suddenly of a heart attack.

Southern APR Loyalists Picked by PRS

Nominations for officer and board posts at PRSA show that the nomcom, headed by 2011 chair Rosanna Fiske, now with the Coral Gables PR firm Republica, did little work and the Society will remain in the tight grip of Southern conservatives.

Running for chair-elect are Kathy Barbour, now with Baptist Health South Florida, Coral Gables, having left Mayo Clinic, and Blake Lewis, who heads Lewis PR, Dallas.

There is no chance that Lewis could take the nomination because that would mean seven out of the last eight national chairs would be men at a time when women comprise more than 70% of the membership. Female Society leaders have already been complaining.

The male chairs are Joe Cohen in 2014; Mickey Nall, 2013; Gerry Corbett, 2012; Gary McCormick, 2010; Mike Cherenson, 2009, and Jeff Julin, 2008.

The sole female chair is Fiske in 2011.

As an indication of the laziness of the 2013 nomcom, it announces that "no applicants" appeared for the Southeast and Southwest districts. Isn't it the job of the nomcom to recruit qualified candidates?

Some of the other candidates are in minor jobs and will be no challenge to the Southern APR bloc.  Running from North Pacific is Ronele Dotson of RKPR, Reno; Midwest, Brian Lee of Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media, Madison, Wis.; Sunshine, Bonnie Upright, The Boselli Foundation/Upright PR, Orange Park, Fla.; director-at-large, Kathleen Rennie, Ph.D., Seton Hall University/The McGraw Group, Union, N.J., and Tracy Schario, Pew Charitable Trusts, White Stone, Va.

Sixteen of the 18 members of the nomcom are APR when only two should be based on 18% of the membership being APR.