The 2013 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
In May, Mayor Ford vehemently insisted, “I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” after an investigative reporter from the Toronto Star claimed he saw a video of the mayor using illegal drugs. Rumors quickly circulated that two men were trying to sell the video for $200,000. (The mayor wins because the most damaging BIMBO comments do, in fact, turn out to be true. In November, Canadian police confirmed the existence of a video showing the 44-year-old mayor using a crack pipe. On Nov. 7 Mayor Ford admitted he may have smoked crack but only while in a “drunken stupor.” The mayor later added “[he] has nothing left to hide.”)
NBC Nightly News, “Toronto mayor says he smoked crack ‘in one of my drunken stupors,’” Nov. 5, 2013
“I called you crazy, not fat,” said disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in a long, self-serving interview with Oprah Winfrey. The comment was aimed at Betsy Andreu, wife of former teammate Frankie Andreu.
KDVR (FOX 31) “Betsy Andreu told by Lance Armstrong, ‘I called you crazy, not fat,’” Jan.18, 2013
“While we typically don’t comment on rumors/speculation, Ron Johnson has no immediate plans to resign his position as J.C. Penney CEO,” said a J.C. Penney spokesperson responding to rumors that Johnson was on his way out after the retailer reported an annual loss of $1 billion and a $4 billion decline in sales. (When news reports append the word “struggling” to you – as in “the struggling retailer tried to end speculation that CEO Ron Johnson is leaving” – you have an uphill climb.)
The Dallas Morning News, “J.C. Penney denies CEO leaving,” March 13, 2013
The 2012 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
“The world will not end on December 21, 2012, or any day in 2012,” read a post on USA.gov. Titled “Scary rumors about the world ending in 2012 are just rumors,” the website tried to debunk end-of the-world rumors and allay fears of an impending apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar. (A classic BIMBO causes the listener to believe the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. In this case, the blog only reinforces fears about the predicted doomsday. This post can’t be helping NASA, which has already received messages from young people who say “they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday.”)
USA.gov, “Scary rumors about the world ending in 2012 are just rumors,” Dec. 3, 2012
“I don’t think there is some drastic change needed,” said RIM CEO Thorsten Heins as shareholders called for change after the latest Blackberry model was criticized for lack of apps and other features. Mr. Heins made another appearance in the Memo this year claiming, “This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral.” (Mr. Heins gets the dishonorable mention for his repeated use of classic BIMBO comments. He should know better.)
The Guardian, “RIM chief denies Blackberry maker is in a ‘death spiral,’” July 3, 2012
Bloomberg Businessweek, “Research in Motion: The Living Dead?” Feb. 5, 2012
“We’re not strippers, we’re maids,” said Melissa Borrett, founder of Lubbock, Texas-based Fantasy Maid Services whose maids clean houses nude. She added, “The nudity aspect of it isn’t, in and of itself, enough to qualify it as a nude cleaning service.”
Lubbock Avalanche Journal, “Nude maid service not sexual, owner says,” April 10, 2012
The 2011 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
The 2011 BIMBO of the Year goes to the Occupy Wall Streeters. "We're not here just to march and bang on drums," said Bill Buster, the PR volunteer for Occupy Wall Street in New York's Zuccotti Park. OWS had some defenders on the left, some of them surprising. "They are not lazy people sitting around looking for something to do," said Lawrence Fink, one of the wealthiest and most successful people on Wall Street. For most Americans, the OW Streeters were handled with kid gloves by the media and municipal officials until patience finally ran out and tent cities were cleared out, leaving huge piles of trash punctuated with occasional spurts of violence.
USA Today, "Anti-Wall Street protests face question; Now what?" Oct. 11, 2011
Transocean is this year's clear runner-up for BIMBO of the Year. The company's appalling justification for awarding multimillion dollar bonuses to its executives puts them a step away from receiving Spaeth's highest honor; "Not withstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record." This staggeringly inappropriate and insulting comment makes the list for many reasons. First, they dismiss the "tragic loss of life" as if it's a blip on the screen. Second, they claim an exemplary "statistical safety record." That's like saying there were only 50 children abused in the Penn State scandal. Transocean doesn't understand the deaths call into question the entire safety culture of the operation. Perception is just as important, if not more important, in forming beliefs than statistics. Finally, it was predictable that the executives were shamed into donating their bonuses to charity. This is yet another example of a company that doesn't have someone competent and empowered who could have advised executives and ultimately saved Transocean a lot of grief.
The Wall Street Journal, "Transocean Cites Safety in Bonuses," April 2, 2011
"No 'smear' campaign was authorized or intended," said Facebook when it was caught hiring Burson-Marsteller to push stories critical of Google's new feature, Social Circles. The negative word "smear" appeared in multiple headlines covering the controversy. As a side lesson, Burson contacted reporters and trashed Google via email, ensuring a written record, so when Facebook denied involvement, the emails were produced.
USA Today, "PR firm's Google attack fails," May 10, 2011
"We're not a bunch of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Neanderthals," said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC.) The Congressman was responding to President Obama's characterization of members who opposed his position on the debt ceiling crisis as ideologues. This rates a mention because it creates the image of conservative Republicans as, yes, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. Rep. Gowdy was joined by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill) who responded via video to the vice president and made the comments, "I am not a terrorist," and "I don't wear a suicide vest or wage jihad." This was in response to columnist Joe Nocera's snide crack at the Tea Party as "waging jihad on the American people."
New York Post, "Americans debt rage boils over," July 27, 2011
"It certainly wasn't a sham," Kim Kardashian's mother, Kris Jenner, told the "Today Show" about her daughter's 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries. You have to admire the family's ability to say things like this with a straight face.
"Today Show," "Kim Kardashian's mom says wedding 'wasn't a sham.'" Nov. 2, 2011
The 2010 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
"It may be stupid, it may be negligent, but it's not corrupt," said longtime Rep. Charles Rangel explaining one of his 13 ethics violations where he sent hundreds of solicitations for contributions on Congressional stationary. (Rangel's explanation, that he just "grabbed the wrong stationary," will warm the hearts of disorganized fundraisers everywhere. The amazing thing to us is that he appears to truly believe this is all OK, and after he was censured by a 333 to 79 vote, he said, "I truly feel good.")
The Associated Press, "Rangel Vows Not To Resign," Aug. 10, 2010
The Wall Street Journal, "Rangel Censured for Ethics Violations," Dec. 3, 2010
"We are not covering up anything and we are not running away from anything," said Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda when U.S. safety regulators began to investigate the timeliness of the 8.5 million car recall due to reports of sudden acceleration. (If you recall, the company did run away for quite some time, and as an internal memo revealed, the company was aggressively trying to limit what it needed to do to address complaints and safety concerns.)
Detroit News, "Toyota president: 'We are not covering up anything,'" Feb. 17, 2010
"I am not a witch," said Christine O'Donnell the then Delaware Republican Senate nominee in an ad destined to rank with the infamous 'I did not have sex with that woman,' comment. (This shows how much you can pay for truly bad advice. The ad, which featured O'Donnell in a dark suit against a dark background, made O'Donnell look, well, witchy.)
ABC News, "Christine O'Donnell Ad: 'I am Not A Witch,'" Oct. 4, 2010
"I did this for health purposes. There's no way I did this for any type of strength purposes," wailed Mark McGwire, finally telling us what we knew all along - that he used steroids when he broke home run records in the late '90s. (McGwire sounds whiney, defensive and just as insincere as his testimony in 2005 before a Congressional committee when he refused to answer questions, saying he was "not here to talk about the past.")
The Associated Press, "Mark McGwire finally admits using steroids," Jan. 12, 2010
"New Jersey Doesn't Stink" was the state's campaign slogan to fight back against stereotypes set by MTV's popular "Jersey Shore." (The campaign spawned parodies, with one columnist suggesting the slogan, "New Jersey: We're FBI Friendly.")
The Washington Times, "New Jersey Doesn't Stink: State out to deodorize Garden State image," June 28, 2010
"I am not a home wrecker," said Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' mistress and mother of his daughter. She told Oprah Winfrey that posing for GQ in panties and a man's shirt was a "mistake," but she said she has no regrets. Well, except for making a sex tape with Edwards, that they didn't use birth control, and that she knew that Edwards was married when she went to his room for the first night. (There is absolutely nothing Ms. Hunter could have said except abject apologies for her destructive and selfish behavior. We're in the business of helping clients find truthful explanations, not personality transplants.)
ABC News, "Rielle Hunter: I'm not a home wrecker," April 29, 2010
WORST LAWYER COMMENT
"Several troubled, troubled people," was how Novartis' lawyer, Richard Schnadig, described the women bringing a class action suit against the pharmaceutical company. Schnadig attacked the women's claims that the company had an environment hostile to women, saying the women were "lie telling," that the case wasn't "about mommy time" and the company wasn't obligated to "make their lives special." He referred to one of the plaintiffs as "that little blonde." (The jury returned a verdict of $250 million for discriminating against women in pay and promotion. Schnadig also claimed it takes time for society to change. All we have are the press reports of this case, but it's instructive to look at how the jury "heard" the company's defense and realized they didn't like the company. We've made this point repeatedly: likeability may not be enshrined in the law but it's a very real component.)
Bloomberg, "I'd like some sex with that Drug Order," May 21, 2010
WORDS WITH IMPACT
"While 'earmark' has become a dirty word in the eyes of many, it is, put simply, an explicit direction from Congress as to how certain funds should be spent," Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, tried to insist in an OpEd. (Sorry, Danny boy, micromanaging public funds to direct them toward pet projects is a bad idea. Deceased House member John Murtha earmarked $112 million to for-profit companies that were clients of a lobbying firm that arranged $350,000 to go to seven pals in Congress. The House at least passed legislation prohibiting earmarks to for-profit companies, but Senator Inouye's chamber promptly rejected the measure. Note how 'earmark' appears in the headline.)
USA Today, "'Earmark' isn't a dirty word," March 26, 2010
DOUBLESPEAK OR JARGON
Boeing's Stephen Oswald described the problems of the $1.1 billion "virtual fence" on the border as a "nontrivial systems-integration problem," The translation: "It's not working." (Apparently the efforts failed to secure the 53 miles of border the fence covers.)
The Washington Times, "Official concedes 'virtual' border fence has been a failure," July 5, 2010
UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR
This award goes to former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, for his comments in a paper for the Brookings Institution. In the paper, he documented the causes of the recession, declining to take any responsibility, and said when they saw the problem, they assumed the problem was localized, and when they recognized the problem, "Regrettably, we did little to address the problem." (This paper should make normal people, i.e. taxpayers, furious. He suggests that "the super smart elites" weren't to blame; it's that too many people wanted to buy homes. Apparently it's our fault! Not a word about what happened to lending standards, not to mention some predatory practices are mentioned.)
MSN Money, "Greenspan: I didn't start housing bubble," March 18, 2010
A passenger on a Virgin Air flight wrote a humorous and illustrated letter of complaint regarding food he was served on a flight. It generated a personal response from CEO Sir Richard Branson who invited him to help select meals for the airline in the future. Another example of how important it is to respond quickly, to have a conversational and humane tone, and to use humor. If communication is to be a strategic tool for business, this is a good example of how to handle complaints.
Telegraph, "Virgin complaint letter: Author of Virgin letter offered chance as airline's food tester," Jan. 28, 2010
Another good example is how Walmart reacted when an announcement over their loud speaker in a New Jersey store ordered all black people to leave. Predictably, shoppers were horrified, angry, and word spread quickly. Rather than wait to find out what had happened, Walmart immediately apologized saying it was unacceptable, and pledged to find out what had happened and share whatever they found with the public. A 16-year-old boy was discovered to have commandeered one of the courtesy phones. This is how a company has to react in this day of instant news, even before it knows all the facts. The county prosecutor "praised the company for their strong cooperation in the investigation," and the NAACP, which has been critical of Walmart in the past, weighed in to say that the company has worked hard to show it cares about diversity. (The moral: even bad news can be a platform for positive news.)
MSNBC, "Police: Boy, 16, made racial comment at NJ Walmart," March 20, 2010
OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West urged a boycott of Arizona's immigration law because Arizona's "a state which is removed from the border." She said she could see why Texas, which "is directly on the border with Mexico," may need Arizona's immigration law. West concluded that Arizona doesn't have "a major issue with undocumented people flooding their border." (Ms. West's comments became a hit on YouTube and Arizona Senator Kyl immediately sent her a map.)
Arizona Daily Star, "Kyl helps out Milwaukee official who thinks Ariz. isn't on border," June 26, 2010
"Don't panic," said Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin following Scott Brown's win over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts. (Despite being described by David Gergen as "the Kennedy seat," Brown ran promising to be the vote that stopped health care "reform," while Coakley promised to vote for it. Maybe they shouldn't "panic," but they should listen!)
USA Today, "What now for the Democrats?" January 21, 2010
LINE OF THE YEAR
We like to recognize great writing, particularly great leads, and Mark Gilbert's story in BusinessWeek titled "In Defense of Goldman. Really; Loopholes in EU rules, not Goldman Sachs, are to blame for Europe's debt troubles" begins "This time, the vampire squid is innocent."
Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "In Defense of Goldman. Really; Loopholes in EU rules, not Goldman Sachs, are to blame for Europe's debt troubles," March 15, 2010
AND HE SAID IT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE
"My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize," said Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson in response to an armed services proposal to move more troops to Guam. (Equally as great as the Congressman's remark, was the Admiral's reply (also with a straight face), "We don't anticipate that.")
The New York Times, "A Confederacy of Dunces," April 8, 2010
CBS News, "Hank Johnson Worries Guam Could 'Capsize' After Marine Buildup," April 1, 2010
THE FUNNIEST POWERPOINT SLIDE EVER
We're not sure if this PowerPoint diagram meant to portray the complexity of the American strategy in Afghanistan was actually serious or a takeoff. However, it has since become a classic example of how PowerPoint, the ubiquitous visual tool, can hinder communication by being too complex.
The New York Times, "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint," April 27, 2010
As you probably remember, Gen. McChrystal allowed a Rolling Stone reporter to follow him around for a day. The resulting article, which was full of candid comments about the war, created buzz around the wisdom, or naïveté, of letting a reporter shadow you for an extended period of time without firm ground rules about what can and can't be printed. We'd like to call your attention to Fox reporter Geraldo Rivera's spirited defense of McChrystal and his scorn for Rolling Stone. However, it's important to note Gen. McChrystal was fired, not the reporter.
Mediaite.com, Geraldo on Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings: 'A Terrible Thing That He Has Done," June 23, 2010
The 2009 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
The 2009 BIMBO of the Year Award for communication blunders goes to the Tiger Woods team.
"This is the first time someone is winning for what they haven't said," commented Merrie Spaeth, founder of Spaeth Communications, Inc. "There was intense competition for the winning comment, but Team Tiger wins for giving bad advice, acting as enablers and covering his behavior."
The purpose of the BIMBO awards is to remind people that communication is strategic and can have a very real impact. In this instance, Tiger's lack of communication has cost him his reputation and millions of dollars in endorsements.
Team Tiger earns a failing grade on handling the crisis at Tiger's house. He didn?t say anything for days, and then commented about "transgressions" and "personal sins" on his website. His team also failed at communicating with their key audiences, Tiger himself, and helping Tiger communicate with his key audiences.
"This wasn't 'managing' Tiger's career," said Spaeth. "This was criminal mismanagement. Professionals are hired for their experience and advice, even when the client doesn't want to hear it."
This year's runners-up include Whoopi Goldberg with her comment, "I know it wasn't rape-rape. I think it was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape." A comment she said on The View about the conviction of film director Roman Polanski for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. Barclays' Chief Executive Jon Varley is the second runner-up for his comment, "Profit is not satanic."
Last, but not least, the 2009 Dishonorable Mention is awarded to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagovich for his comment, "I'm here to tell you right off the bat that I'm not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing."
The 2008 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
ANOTHER YEAR: OPEN MOUTH, INSERT FOOT
Politics Dominates "BIMBO OF THE YEAR" Awards
(Dallas - Dec. 18, 2008) Politicians dominated the majority of the categories in the 2008 BIMBO awards, but the business community held its own with true BIMBO comments - where the speaker repeats and denies a negative, causing the listener to hear the exact opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. We also award those for their clueless comments and actions. Real and would-be celebrities contributed silly or damaging comments, too. In fact, it was another target rich year.
"In this new age of YouTube, Twitter, citizen journalism and all the other new-new-new media, it's nice to know that what we say is still the most powerful tool we have to influence others," said company founder, Merrie Spaeth, in announcing the 2008 'winners.'
AND THE WINNER IS
BUSINESS BIMBO of the year, demonstrating that what you say has real implications, goes to Bear Stearns' chief executive, when the company publicly and repeatedly said, "We don't see any pressure on liquidity." They were history by that Friday. Business Week, "Bailing Out of Bear," April 21, 2008
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS, the tin-ear of American auto manufacturers manifested itself when the three CEOs flew in three separate private jets to Washington, D.C., to ask for $25 billion in taxpayer funds for their companies. (The debate that raged about whether this was a "bailout" or a "bridge loan" is a nice illustration that what you call something affects what people think about it. Despite the energetic efforts of the car companies and the United Auto Workers, the American people are referring to it as a "bailout.") ABC News, "Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds," Nov. 19, 2008
SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER
"The microphone is always on" award goes to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who whispered "I'd like to cut his n-ts off," about then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Rev. Jackson also used what is euphemistically referred to as the "n" word. This was a particularly egregious comment because they were in a television studio! What does he think they do in a TV studio? Let's let him in on a little secret--they tape you. (Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell gets "honorable" mention for saying about President-elect Obama's pick for the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that she "...was perfect. She has no life. She's not married." Again, he was standing at a podium with a microphone.)
Reuters, "Jesse Jackson: Obama talking down to blacks," July 10, 2008
AP, "Jackson apologizes for his comments about Obama," July 9, 2008
AND THEY COULD SAY IT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE, awards go to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., "I do not want to leave any impression that I have received preferential treatment in my personal business dealings," and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-C.T., both of whom received lower-than-market interest rates on mortgages with Countrywide after then-CEO Angela Mozila personally interceded for them. Conrad didn't even think it was strange when Mozila called to talk to him personally.
The Wall Street Journal, "Sen. Conrad Addresses Ties To Countrywide," June 16, 2008
The Wall Street Journal, "Beltwaywide Financial," June 16, 2008
Portfolio.com, "Countrywide?s Many 'Friends,'" June 12, 2008
Also "winning" in this category was New York Congressman Charles Rangel who occupies four (count 'em, four) rent stabilized apartments in a highly desirable apartment building which is in clear violation of the city's rules. "I didn't even know it was a deal," protested Rangel.
The New York Times, "Harlem Congressman Defends His 4 Apartments," July 12, 2008
WEASEL WORDS With special recognition for weasel words, this award goes to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, indicted, tried and convicted of failing to disclose several hundred thousand dollars of gifts from contractors who did business with the state and federal governments. Stevens also blustered, "I never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by a U.S. Senator."
The New York Times, "Senator charged in scheme to hide oil firm gifts," July 30, 2008
VINTAGE WHINE comment certainly goes to Peter Cook, model Christie Brinkley's ex-husband, who sought an interview with Barbara Walters so he could tell people, "I'm not the scumbag pervert I've been painted to be."
US Weekly, "Peter Cook: "I'm not the Scumbag pervert I've been painted to be," Oct. 8, 2008
ABC News, "Christie Brinkley Denied Request for Restraining Order," Oct. 9, 2008
The 2007 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
And the Bimbo of the Year goes to...The Bush Administration for the fourth year in a row.
A Bush Administration official was given the dubious honor of winning Spaeth Communications' "BIMBO of The Year" award, garnering the fourth year in a row for the Administration. BIMBO comments highlight the risk of repeating and denying a negative word. Thus, the listener ignores the denial and hears the opposite of what the speaker is trying to convey.
"There was a steady stream of BIMBO comments in 2007," said Merrie Spaeth, founder of Spaeth Communications and the Bimbo awards. The Bimbo's, now 20 years old, are "dangerous," as Merrie puts it. "The listener believes the speaker is lying, and the denial competes with the opportunity for the speaker to articulate a positive message or position," says Spaeth.
The 2007 Winning BIMBO's were:
From then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about his role in firing eight U.S. Attorneys: "I have nothing to hide," "It certainly was not in any way an attempt to mislead the American people," "Nothing improper occurred," and "I never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people about my role in this matter."
MSNBC.com, "Gonzales: 'I have nothing to hide,'" April 15, 2007
USA Today, "Attorney general says he misspoke," April 16, 2007
MSNBC.com, "Va. Tech tragedy delays Gonzales testimony," April 16, 2007
The Dallas Morning News, "Why firings" possible links to corruption cases touched a nerve,? April 17, 2007, from the May 2007 Bimbo Memo
From former White House aide Monica Goodling, who moved to the Department of Justice and was involved in the U.S. Attorneys' firing. "I don't believe I intended to commit a crime." MSNBC.com, "Ex-Justice aide: Official wasn't 'fully candid," May 23, 2007, from the June 2007 Bimbo Memo
From former Press Secretary Tony Snow, "This is not hanging Paul Wolfowitz out to dry."
AP, "Wolfowitz fights pressure to quit World Bank," May 9, 2007, from the June 2007 Bimbo Memo
WINNING 2007 LAWYER BIMBO:
James Ecker, attorney for a funeral home, which stashed the corpses of 19 stillborn infants instead of burying or cremating them. "He didn't abuse the corpse. He didn't stab the corpse. The fetuses were given to him by the hospital to get rid of. As far as their parents were concerned, their children were already gone."
Fox News.com, "Ex-funeral director pleads guilty to theft after 19 babies found in garbage," July 10, 2007, from the August 2007 Bimbo Memo
WINNING 2007 ATHLETE BIMBO's CO-WINNERS:
Texas A&M University's football Coach Dennis Franchione was caught sending a weekly e-mail to boosters who paid $1,200 a year to a company that maintains his personal website. "There was no intent to deceive anyone."
The Dallas Morning News, "Franchione sold A&M secrets to donors," Sept. 29, 2007, from the November 2007 Bimbo Memo
Terry ?The Tank? Johnson on being signed by the Cowboys after being released by Chicago following arrests involving weapons. ?I was never involved in violence. I never harmed anyone. I never was out-of-control. I?m not a gun toting thug.? The Dallas Morning News, ?Getting Tank back on track,? Oct. 2, 2007, November 2007 Bimbo Memo
WINNING 2007 CELEBRITY BIMBO:
Isaiah Washington, former co-star of "Grey's Anatomy." "I did not call T.R. a faggot." (He was even caught on tape. As a reminder, today everyone has a cell phone or video camera.)
AP, "Apology aimed at healing 'Grey's Anatomy,'" Jan. 19, 2007, from the February 2007 Bimbo Memo
ACADEMIC FINDINGS and BIMBO validation:
Spaeth Communications noted an experiment by University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz, who tested what volunteers remembered from a flyer from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flyer tried to correct myths about the flu vaccine, such as "only older people need flu vaccine." Contrary to what he and the CDC expected, instead of retaining the new, correct information, most of the volunteers recalled only the incorrect myths. In other words, repeating and denying the myths only pounded them into readers' minds.
In addition, during the past year, Peter Kim, an organizational psychologist at the University of Southern California, published a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology finding that if accusations are met with silence, they are more likely to be regarded as true.
The 2006 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
And the winner is... The Bush Administration gets the nod for multiple comments that the violence in Iraq "is not a civil war." In April, former Prime Minister Awad Allawi told the BBC "If this is not a civil war, then God knows what a civil war is." His comments caused numerous reporters to ask Administration officials to respond, producing comments from Vice President Dick Cheney, "What we've seen is a serious effort to foment civil war, but I don't think they've succeeded," as well as General George Casey saying the situation was a long way from being "a broad civil war," and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld adding, "I do not believe they are in a civil war today," and adding the qualifier, "There has always been the potential for civil war."
The 2005 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
"I am not a crazy person. I am not stupid," said Rafael Palmeiro who famously testified before Congress, "I have never used steroids," only to later test positive. Palmeiro then made it worse, first by insisting it was an "accident," and then issuing a statement to young fans tacitly acknowledging he had done it. Then, when the Congressional report was made public at the end of the year, Palmiero amended his statement to say, "I never intentionally used steroids."
The 2004 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
The 2004 BIMBO of the Year award goes (with apologies) to Secretary of State Colin Powell, whom we revere, but who fell right into the trap of repeating and denying a negative word. When UN official, Jan Egeland, accused the U.S. of being stingy in responding to the tsunami disaster, Powell shot back. "The United States is not stingy." The word took on a life of its own and continues to be repeated over and over.
The 2003 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
The government of the African nation of Malawi for sending out a worldwide press release with the headline, "Malawi does not have a problem with vampires."
BIMBO comments illustrate the perils of repeating and denying a negative word. Malawi was chosen because it is highly unlikely that anyone would have associated the country with vampires until the government sought to publicize its non-problem
The 2002 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
With statements like "I did not lie to Congress or anyone else," "I never duped Ken Lay," and "Mr. Lay doesn't deserve prison rape," former Enron executive Jeff Skilling is the overwhelming choice for the 2002 Bimbo of the Year Awards.
The 2001 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
It goes to both Condit and Osama bin Laden. Rep. Gary Condit (D-Cal.) who had an entire section of BIMBO comments. First, his spokesman Mike Dayton announced, "We have nothing to hide." Condit added, "I have not been silent," "I did not ask anyone to lie," "They do not have any reason to be suspicious." The grand winner? "I am not stonewalling." Osama bin Laden, "Our intention is not to destroy the human race."
The 2000 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
goes to the new governor of Indonesia's Central Bank, Syahril Sabirin for saying, "I don't think I've stolen any money."
The 1999 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
goes to Mike Tyson, who said: "You wrote that I was a recluse rapist. I'm not a recluse.
The 1998 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
"There isn't a crazed killer on the loose." The Mayor of Boulder, Colorado, commenting on the murder of a 6-year-old beauty contestant.
The 1997 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
NGC, a gas company, for responding to complaints about the emitting smell of what's called "sour gas" said, "This is not a plot to poison people."
The 1996 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
Japanese businessman Hiroshi Asaji, who when asked by Business Week about his ties to the Japanese underworld said, "I haven't done anything illegal - recently."
The 1995 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner...
Time Warner Telepictures, the unit which produces the Jenny Jones Show, gained national notoriety when a disgruntled guest was enticed onto the show to learn who his "secret" admirer was, and on discovering it was another man, the guest later confronted and killed the man. The company spokesman said, "No one was lied to. No one was misled."