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Rehabilitating a Reputation. Watch Amy’s Baking Company Use Dick Cheney’s Methods on the Media

Amy Bouzaglo

Have you watched Amy Bouzaglo of  Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro on Gordan  Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmare (Season 6 episode 16)? It was gripping TV which led to a social media disaster. At tomorrow’s press conference we’ll see how good her PR team from Rose+Moser+Allyn Public and Online Relations is at their job. Based on this early story in the Phoenix Business Journal I think they are going to be very successful. Why? Because they will be deploying techniques used by conservative politicians in the media.

For non-watchers I realize I’ve started in media res and you probably haven’t been following along, so here is video from the episode where Ramsey’s production team films what happens before, during and after the show at ABC Bakery Boutique & Bistro. To compound the problems caught on cameras, someone on their Facebook page started responding to criticism. Here is the Buzzfeed link about that. You will note that they have already taken the first step that politicians take when something terrible goes out on social media. “We were hacked!” Later they might change that message, see my section below, Social media “melt down” on Facebook.

I do not like “reality” TV, because I know that via the editing process you can change almost anything. These shows also have a certain standard arc they go though, all that differs are the characters and how they respond.  This episode is different because Ramsey didn’t follow though on his standard,”Then we fixed things and it’s all better.” The reason he gives for breaking the format is that the owners would not listen to his advice.

Fixing a Meal vs. Fixing a Reputation

I was thinking about the reason I wanted to write about this story. As much fun as it is to watch people fighting, what I really want to look at is the rehabilitation process. Why? Because Dick Cheney. Because Mark Stanford. (Not to mention “wide stance” guy and “has sex with prostitutes while wearing a diaper” guy. )

The rehabilitation process is important because the main stream media will not fight it from happening.  If they actively fought it that would make them partisian. The best they can do is, “he said, she said, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. ” The media doesn’t write the story, “Dick Cheney says, blank” which has been proved a lie.” Why would they? It’s not news. It’s history, everyone “knows” what happened. Meanwhile the RW media can push the new, “Dick Cheney was the hero we needed” story.  History is written by whomever owns the media — and has a good spin team.

The other reason I want to watch this is because Elliot Spitzer.  Because Mark Weiner. Because Jim McGreevey.  But, and this is important, the rehabilitation of reputation is different for the left vs. the right. The public and the press have different expectations and actions following a scandal.

You see I’d LIKE to rehabilitate Elliot Spitzer. I’d like to rehabilitate Mark Weiner. I’d like to stop the rehabilitation of Dick Cheney and Mark Stanford.

Are You Prepared for the Elizabeth Warren Scandals?

I’m preparing for future scandals. I’m trying to help us know how to fight and then if we lose to rehabilitate people targeted by the right.  I’m currently in love with Elizabeth Warren, she is standing up to Wall Street and if history is any guide Wall Street will strike back. Hard. Dirty hard. Clinton “Whitewater” hard.  James O’Keefe faked videotape hard. Leaked identity of Valeria Plame hard.

Now I could advise Senator Warren to not do anything wrong, but she is an imperfect human and we have seen that scandals both real and manufactured are exploited to drive people out of office. But what I want to point out is that our media environment is very different and that WE need to understand it when scandal comes a knocking, both during the first stages and then to help with rehabilitation from real or manufactured scandals. I wish I could educate the MSM about these, but the best we can do it to remind them of times they were punked by the RW.  “Hey, Jonathan Karl of ABC, what is the providence of that video/email? Has it been edited? By whom? Might they have an agenda?  Do you have the whole story? Can you use Google and the phone before you run the story?”

I’ve worked with a lots of executives to help them with messages and dealing with the press, but they usually don’t reach Amy and Samy’s heights of self annihilation. I’ve been brought in after some big mistakes though and there are a couple of considerations. First up is understanding the personality of the company, organization and person and second is which deciding on which narrative you want to activate.

Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro Press Conference May 21, 2013

Based on the Phoenix Business Journal article I’m betting this will be their strategy:

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