Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Humor, allegedly

There is a recent article in Forbes magazine, delineating the ruckus that Madison Avenue ad man Jerry Della Femina has found himself in. In the January 23, 2008 edition of Della Femina's weekly Hamptons newspaper, The Independent, editor and columnist "Rick Murphy wrote what purported to be a column written by Barack Obama headlined 'Why I Should Be Our Next President, with a photo of the actual Obama and an overline that was blatantly racist," Forbes' media columnist James Brady writes. I became aware of the imbroglio early on when an SBDC staffer sent me a copy of The Independent column. The previous week's column on Hillary Clinton, for which the paper has also apologized, still had a working link as of February 5.

The pieces never made any sense to me because the tasteless stories - yes, I can send you copies, if you want - seemed out of place in what is essentially a Pennysaver-type adzine publication, albeit for the Hamptons. The story has gone from a local to national attention - see also USA Today and Alec Baldwin's posts in the Huffington Post - making the paper, published over a dozen years, a bit of a laughingstock. This seems to belie the adage that "there's no such thing as bad publicity." The offensiveness of the issue aside, I suppose the business lesson here is that it is dangerous to let an ill-considered, peripheral part of the operation endanger the whole magilla.

3 comments:

Leslie said...

Thank you for showing me the business side of this one, Rodge, because I was still seething from the sheer hubris of it. Good call!

Roger Green said...

Anti- Biased Activists Call For Dismissal Of Editor Over Controversy http://www.hamptons.com/detail.ihtml?id=2918

Anonymous said...

More letters to the editor about the Della Femina and Rick Murphy, starting with the one entitled "Immature Bullies."

http://www.easthamptonstar.com/dnn/Letters/tabid/4782/Default.aspx
JM