Steven Mnuchin
Steven Mnuchin

Putting TikTok out of its PR misery… Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will put together a consortium to take TikTok off the hands of China’s Bytedance.

The PR world should rejoice because TikTok’s ham-handed campaign to stave off US legislation forcing it to split from its Chinese owner is almost over.

TikTok somehow thought it was a good idea to recruit dozens of American creators for a trip to DC for a photo-op designed to stave off legislation.

It was hardly a spontaneous display of support for TikTok, which paid for transportation, lodging and meals for the creators, including a festival dinner at the Bazaar by Jose Andres in the Waldorf Astoria hotel, according to the New York Times.

One creator told the Times that he didn’t have a clue about the action in Congress until TikTok approached him a week before the jamboree in DC.

He wound up on “Good Morning America," and waved a sign that read “TikTok changed my life for the better” that was supplied by the app.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a long-time foe of TikTok, said the app is used by the creators as a shield when it's not an American company. Pawns might be a better word.

He co-authored the bill that removed TikTok from US government devices because of its threat to national security.

The Senator says TikTok has the power to “radically distort the world-picture that America’s young people encounter.”

That’s because TikTok has evolved from fun dance videos and lip-synching to more of a media platform. About a third of Americans under age 30 use TikTok as their main news source.

Do we want China, which views the media as its primary propaganda tool, to be programming news that shapes the minds of young Americans? Of course, not.

The US would never allow China to acquire major stakes in “old media” outlets such as the Washington Post, CNN or CBS.

Why should it have unfettered access to new media outlets like TikTok?

China bans social media platforms Google, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube from its market due to data collection and content rules.

It is hypocritical for China to then squawk about US law designed to stem its influence among the 170M American users of TikTok, even if they mainly visit the platform for some silly and mindless entertainment.

WPP Calls for Burson Reinforcements. In its Jan. 25 announcement about the merger of BCW and Hill & Knowlton to form Burson, WPP promised the “new agency will draw on both organizations’ unrivaled talent base” and “senior executives from both companies who bring deep expertise and knowledge of what business leaders need to succeed.”

What could imagine a cornucopia of talent flowing from these two powerhouse firms. Layoffs had to be in the cards due to overlapping executive expertise at both firms.

That’s why it is surprising that BCW has made two major executive hires since the merger went public, adding two Edelman veterans.

Lee Alman joined BCW in February as executive VP in its North America corporate affairs practice and leader of the issues and crisis specialty across the U.S. He spent nearly a dozen years at Edelman, exiting as executive VP, U.S. crisis and risk practice.

On March 13, BCW and H&K announced that Allison Cirullo will join as global chair of consumer and brand for Burson. She’s a 16-year Edelman veteran, who rose to the COO spot in the global brand practice.

There’s still time to add more executive reinforcements, as the Burson brand will debut on July 1.

Shades of Richard Nixon… Donald Trump has a “detailed plan” to end the war in Ukraine, according to Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban. They huddled together at Mar-a-Lago.

Richard Nixon had a “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam, which he promised to divulge after the 1968 presidential election.

Tricky Dick’s plan was to bomb the beejusis out of North Vietnam and extend the bombing into neighboring countries Laos and Cambodia. We know how that turned out.

We also know that the Mango Mussolini’s detailed plan is to pull the plug on aid to Ukraine and hand the country over to his buddy Vladimir Putin.

Orban has good ties with Russia and is in frequent contact with Putin.

The Russian must be overjoyed with Orban’s report that his acolyte is willing to destroy the reputation of the US as a faithful ally by abandoning Ukraine.

Nixon snookered voters in 1968. There’s still a chance to stand by Ukraine.

More hot air. While Donald Trump promises to “drill baby drill” on Day 1 of his second administration, America’s greatest environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt got the job done.

The US Energy Information Administration reported on March 11 that the US produced an average of 12.9M barrels of oil per day in 2023, an all-time high.

America produced more crude oil than any nation at any time, said the USEIA.

US Energy Information Administration

And president Biden shouldn’t worry about Saudi Arabia or Russia knocking America from is top spot during his second administration.

The US currently has a production capacity of 13.3M barrels per day. Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Armco won’t hit the 13.0M mark until 2027.

Take a bow, Joe. Your campaign could use an energy boost.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh (Happy Saint Patrick’s Day)… Enterprise Ireland, which bills itself as Europe’s largest venture capital firm, is using the Global Situation Room for strategic communications support around the festivities slated for the holiday.

GSR also is showcasing Ireland’s increasing investment in the US.

The US and Ireland relationship is more than parades and pints, said GSR president Brett Bruen. “While many like to say they’re, ‘Irish for a day” on March 17th, the country’s companies are now touching our lives every day. It’s a message that will come through loud and clear this year.”

Launched in 1998, Enterprise Ireland supported more than 4,000 Irish companies, which employed more than 225K people in 2023. It created more than 15K new jobs last year, with 68 percent of them outside Dublin.

Enterprise Ireland invests in areas such as climate/sustainability/agritech, life sciences, digital technology, engineering, food & beverage, packaging and financial services.

It looks forward to boosting its US profile beyond Saint Patrick’s Day.