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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 5, 2006 / 7 Iyar, 5766

PR can be deadly hard

By Gene Weingarten


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I solemnly swear that what follows is an actual phone conversation I just had with an actual person.

Me: Hi. From time to time I talk with public relations people, and sometimes I confess I feel as though I am talking to soulless machines. But as soon as I read your name I knew there would be something warm and comforting and human about you.

Heather R. Huhman: Thank you!

Me: I am in receipt of a pitch you sent to a reporter at The Washington Post on behalf of a client. I am summarizing here, but basically you begin by noting that The Post has recently been covering the controversy over the sale of port management contracts to an Arab Muslim country. Then, employing a non sequitur of breathtaking proportions, or possibly one of the most tasteless transitions in the history of written communication, you say that, in a related development, you represent the National Funeral Directors Association.

Heather: This is making me nervous, as a PR professional.

Me: So, I kept reading. And, basically — correct me if I am wrong here — in an effort to garner good publicity for your clients, you are proposing a positive story on how funeral directors will be helping us bury our dead in the event of a terrorist holocaust that will annihilate thousands of people.

Heather: Well, you are incorrect. That is not in context.

Me: Okay, here's the context: "To follow-up on the articles being written in the Post about Bush's port deals, John Fitch, VP of Advocacy for the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), can discuss how America is planning to handle the potential mass fatalities from a terrorism standpoint — and perhaps more importantly to you, how small business owners (funeral directors) will play an important role. Most funeral homes are owned by the same family for an average of four generations."

Heather: Well, yes. The roles they will play in mass fatalities.

Me: I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think I love you.

Heather: Okay . . .

Me: What is love but a feeling of intense empathy? I can't imagine many more difficult jobs than being the PR person for the Funeral Directors Association.

Heather: Actually, it's a blast! When I call people, and I say I am calling on behalf of the National Funeral Directors Association, they say, "Omigod, is it my time?"

Me:

Heather: Well, I enjoy it.

Me: You poor baby. It's not like having to drum up fluffy publicity for Hasbro toys or the state lottery or the puppy and kitten industry, is it? You really have to work at this, don't you?

Heather: I like to think I always work very hard.

Me: I'm not without a heart, and, frankly, Heather, it is nearly breaking. I'm going to make you an offer. I am going to ease your burden. I will print whatever positive things you say about the funeral directors, right now. I will suspend all journalistic skepticism, because I feel so sorry for you. Go ahead. Anything you want to say about funeral directors, and it goes from your mouth into the pages of The Washington Post, unedited and unverified. Go crazy. Lionize them! Lie!

Heather: I really can't comment on that.

Me: What?

Heather: I'm only qualified to speak on the mass fatality issue.

Me: My God. You are a saint.

Heather: If you knew more about it, you'd understand. If there were an avian flu pandemic, what would happen with all of those bodies? I know this sounds morbid, but . . .

Me: Stop!

Heather: . . . but what would happen if 1.9 million people died in months? We don't put people in mass graves like some Third World countries do. What happens to all those bodies?



I simply couldn't let her go on. Heather might not be my choice for, say, an inspirational speaker or toastmistress at a Goodfellows banquet, but she is a PR person, doing her job. I wish Morticia, I mean Heather, only the best — a client that is easier to represent, such as the American Association of Nose-Pickers and Sexual Deviants.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Gene Weingarten writes the Below the Beltway humor column for The Washington Post. To comment, please click here.


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