Greetings from Skull Island

Edward R. Murrow may not quite be rolling in his grave, but I’m sure he ordered a heavenly double Scotch yesterday when the Today Show managed to tie together LeBron James, Vogue magazine and King Kong. This manufactured story was sparked by James’ appearance on the cover of this month’s Vogue with supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Dribbling a basketball in one hand and clutching a smiling Bundchen with the other, James had his game face on with full intensity. How does King Kong enter the picture? Some over-imaginative bloggers decided that James’ face resembled a classic Kong promotional photo from the 1933 movie. The rest is history . . . or in the case of today’s hyper-sensitive, act-before-we-think media, it’s called “breaking news.” Ann Curry did a live interview with media commentators Donny Deutsch and Nancy Giles, and a controversy was born.

During the Today segment, blog writers at and other “analysts” were quoted as spotting the similarity between an African-American athlete and a monstrous gorilla. I’ll let you be the judge of where the claims of racism should be directed.

For our purposes, it’s a sobering example of how the mainstream media is now taking their cues from a handful of relative unknowns. The lesson for marketing and PR professionals is this: blogs have established a voice in our culture that can no longer be ignored. They now represent genuine opportunities for media coverage and exposure, ranging from the national stage to the HR and benefits space.

If you’ve blown off bloggers in the past, they need to be added to your radar -- today. Choose two to three blogs that relate to your market, and get to know the writers, their likes and dislikes. Keep them posted on news that will interest their readers, but don’t treat them as a dumping ground for press releases. Join the conversation.

Oh and Ann Curry . . . consider the illusion shattered.

Posted by Elrond Lawrence

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