As most of you know, some citizens have taken anti-Semitism, other forms of hate speech, and other forms of journalistic malfeasance in the Berkeley Daily Planet so seriously that they have urged advertisers to pull their ads. The Berkeley Daily Planet has retaliated with incessant condemnations of these people (we are also routinely accused of trying to destroy the Daily Planet even though we restrict ourselves to research and analysis). The main villain, according to O’Malley, is one Jim Sinkinson.
This week, the matter was put to rest, with O’Malley fully embracing Sinkinson’s arguments.
Here is the setup. The City Council recently passed a downtown master plan. A successful petition drive against the plan has forced it on to the June, 2010 ballot. The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce favors the plan. Becky O’Malley, of course, does not. Here, then is what O’Malley wrote:
If we’d had the chance to tell the new CEO [of the Chamber of Commerce] what the most critical features of the recent political landscape were, we’d have said that the appearance of a glossy flyer featuring three core apparatchiks in what some sarcastically call “the machine”, with the notation that it was paid for by the “Chamber of Commerce PAC” was, to put it politely, a public relations disaster. For the local chamber of commerce to be perceived as coming out flat-footed against what proved to be a very popular referendum movement (9,200 signatures) is just not what you learn in Marketing 101. All of those 9,200 consumers will now probably think twice before shopping with local merchants. And the saddest thing is that most local merchants probably didn’t even know that the Chamber was linked to the campaign against the petitions.
Now, allow us to rewrite this paragraph just slightly as though it were from the pen of Jim Sinkinson. In fact, the result is indistinguishable, in our opinion, from letters Sinkinson has previously sent to advertisers:
If we’d had the chance to tell the new advertisers in the Berkeley Daily Planet what the most critical features of the recent political landscape were, we’d have said that it is the appearance of repeated instances of anti-Semitism in the Daily Planet that is being paid for by its advertisers. To put it politely, this is a public relations disaster. For the local advertisers in the Berkeley Daily Planet to be perceived as coming out flat-footed against the 25,000 Jewish residents of Berkeley is just not what you learn in Marketing 101. All of those 25,000 consumers will now probably think twice before shopping with local Daily Planet advertisers. And the saddest thing is that most Daily Planet advertisers probably do not even read the paper before deciding to advertise in it, and probably do not know that the Berkeley Daily Planet makes a routine habit of publishing anti-Semitism, other forms of hate speech, and is otherwise journalistically malfeasant.
Could O’Malley and Sinkinson be in more agreement? Harmony returns to pacific Berkeley.