“Build-A-Wall Burger” Fiasco Perhaps Opening Salvo on What’s to Come

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Let’s face it: It’s challenging to keep up with national news today, even with the ability for anyone with new technology (think smart phone, tablet) or even old technology (television, radio) to absorb and comprehend what’s happening in this increasingly crazy world of 2017.

And, for this conversation, I’m referring to “real news,” not the so-called “fake news,” which I addressed in a post earlier this month, or the newfangled type of communication based on “alternative facts.

build-wall-burger

This image, courtesy of the Channel 7 online report, provides a graphic depiction of the menu item in question and written description of how patrons could order the now-gone “Build-A-Wall” burger.

Last week, while driving in my now vintage Toyota Camry, I head a report on the radio, a decidedly old form of communication, about a northwest suburban Chicago restaurant/night club that generated negative exposure by doing something totally uncalled for, insensitive and plain stupid.

And, you guessed it: The news was related to something happening that has an impact on our nation.

As detailed in this ABC Channel 7 television story, Durty Nellie’s in the Chicago suburbs of Palatine offered patrons the option to purchase a “Build-A-Wall Burger,” clearly a not-so-clever marketing initiative designed to play off the Trump administration’s proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Along with stacking 4 ounce hamburger patties, patrons could top off the sandwich with “some amazing Mexican ingredients!”

Really?

Not sure if this menu option — now dropped — was a hit with the folks who patronize Durty Nellie’s. I am sure that this calculated attempt to sell hamburgers through a correlation to an exceptionally polarizing international issue is representative of something wrong with society today: Take advantage of what makes headlines in order to make a profit, regardless of who might be affected.

My point here: If a modest, but quite successful local establishment (Durty Nellies has been in existence for several years according to my memory) made news with a lamebrained promotion, what kind of morally and politically incorrect messages can we expect in the future from other businesses across this great nation?

 

 

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January 20 Means More Than Inauguration Day to Me

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Yes, today the 45th President of the United States became “official” during a ceremony in the nation’s capital.  And, no, I did not attend, and I did not watch the event on television.

Will American give the new President a thumbs up during his administration? Photo courtesy of Newser.

Will American give the new President a thumbs up during his administration? Photo courtesy of Newser.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I was at work. And, unlike many Americans and people around the world, I will not join in protests — organized or spontaneous.

Today, January 20, is the day a new president is inaugurated. (Unless of course, January 20 falls on a Sunday; then Inauguration Day is January 21.)

But today also is my late father’s birthday.  Thaddeus C. Bury, who I remembered in this 2015 Father’s Day post, would have been 101 years old today! And, yes, I guess that makes me sort of “old.”

Given the unrest and controversy today’s inauguration of Donald J. Trump has caused, I have to wonder what Ted (what most people called him) would have thought about the new president and his agenda to “Make American Great Again.”

My father was part of the so called Greatest Generation, meaning he had to make a living during the Depression, served in and endured a world war, returned home and helped build the America I grew up in. Have to believe America was really great for a while, thanks in part to people like my father, and still pretty darn great today.

I’ll save any future comments and observations on Mr. Trump — who I did not vote for — for future posts. I’ll give Mr. Trump and his administration the opportunity to put his agenda into action.  He won, he deserves that opportunity.

On Inaugural Day 2017, the same day as his birthday, I think Ted would have had the same perspective. But, like me, I think my Dad would have been — to phrase a mixed metaphor of sorts — somewhat judicious with the measuring tape.

One somewhat related thought: Today, I ran into a young lady, a student at the university where I work.  I’ve known her for around a year.

She wears a headscarf, and she always has a smile. In my eyes, she is among what makes America great today. If the new President reads this, I hope he’ll accept and recognize that.

Honesty, Open Disclosure Needed to Heal Chicago, CPD

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

The report unveiled yesterday hit Chicago and the Chicago Police Department with the virtual force of a sledgehammer to the collective forehead of the city and those changed with maintaining law and order.

cod-logoFindings from two federal agencies revealed a police department “broken by systems that have allowed CPD officers who violate the law to escape accountability.” And, there’s more: Some police, according to the report, have violated civil rights and used excessive force against blacks and Latinos. Plus, the department’s training program doesn’t properly prepare officers for the job.

The title of the report, “Investigation of the Chicago Police Department,” is somewhat innocuous.  Yet, the conclusions made by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office are incredibly powerful and poignant, and will have lasting ramifications.

In short, the reputation of the Chicago Police Department — and in turn the reputation of the City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel — has been battered at a time when the city is facing a crisis in neighborhoods plagued by a record homicide rate and incessant violence that appears to show no signs of abating.

What to do?

I’ll offer this general advice from a public relations perspective: Open, honest disclosure of how the Department will address the charges identified in the federal report is needed, and it’s needed right now.

Trying to put a “spin” (and I cringe when this term is used) or other efforts to diffuse this situation is foolhardy and counterproductive.

CPD is now facing a sustained crisis, meaning the ramifications from the federal report can last for years.  Without question, gaining the trust and respect of the people of Chicago will take a long time and will be full of challenges.

A clear road map of how the Department will move forward is the best first step it can take to rebuild that trust and respect.

If It’s “Fake” It’s Not “News”

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka the PRDude)

Let’s start with this assertion: The concept of erroneous or inaccurate information shared for public consumption — most recently given the title “fake news” — has been around for a long, long time.

We can expect the "fake news" invasion to continue for a long, long time. Image source: Snopes.

We can expect the “fake news” invasion to continue for a long, long time. Image source: Snopes.com.

Possibly as long as human beings began communicating. That’s because so-called “fake news” also can be construed as “telling a lie,” and there’s no question men and women have told lies for a long, long time.

Only, in this era of instantaneous digital communications that can originate from virtually anyone or any organization with a broadband connection, fabricated messages void of truth can prove very harmful for society. At least society as we know it today.

Come on! Did you really believe that Pope Francis threw his support toward Donald Trump? Photo courtesy of GazetteReview.com.

Come on! Did you really believe that Pope Francis threw his support toward Donald Trump? Image source:  GazetteReview.com.

This was made especially clear in the months leading to the 2016 national elections, when seemingly bizarre stories — Pope Francis throwing support to Donald Trump — surfaced, were propagated and believed by many.  One can ascertain that more “news” of this type will surface in the future.

So, in the debut post of 2017, the PRDude offers this manifesto of sorts to members of the media, fellow public relations professionals and anyone who will listen:

Stop referring to lies, misinformation, fabricated facts and erroneous online content and messages as “fake news.”

As I, and assuredly millions of others maintain, what makes “news” and defines newsworthiness  is based on factual occurrences, trends or developments that meet certain criteria, including:  What took place, where it took place, who or what was involved and what was compelling or interesting.

If a report is based upon “fake” information, it is not “news.”

There. I feel better. And, that’s the truth.