PR Transitions with White House

By: Donald Smith

On January 20, the inauguration for Donald Trump to assume his presidency was held. However, a controversy followed shortly after the event. The topic of the controversy was the size of attendance at President Trump’s inauguration being substantially smaller than Barack Obama’s from 2009. The comparison was characterized by this photo tweeted out by the National Park Services.

[A composite image showing the presidential inauguration comparison for Obama (left) and Trump (right)] By, Barnes
This comparison created a negative outlook on President Trump’s administration. In order to curb this reaction press secretary Sean Spicer held a non-conventional press conference the following day. In the press conference Spicer scolded the media for purposely engaging in false reporting. Later, Spicer referenced several statistics that were reported as false afterwards.

Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to Trump, then proceeded to back up Spicer’s claims in a separate broadcast interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In this interview she stated that Spicer was not using false information, but “alternative facts.” This statement has created a hashtag on Twitter called #alternativefacts where people post comedic material satirizing the political situation.

Now, both Spicer and Conway are seen as public relations professionals. Therefore, by them making false claims on the inauguration attendance size, they have created a distrust between the public and the profession, as if the public did not trust us already. In an attempt to try and conduct some PR for the profession, Public Relations Society of America has stepped into the fray and made a statement rejecting the new White House staff for breaking the code of ethics held up by those in the organization and profession with the “alternative facts.”

Not only have these events caused distrust, but due to Trump consistently discrediting national mainstream media outlets (i.e. CNN) and criticizing large name corporations (i.e. Boeing) professionals will have to differ in tactics in how they go about interacting with the media. So, they will have to be on their toes for the next several years as trust level and relationships among the White House and the media determine effective ways to reach publics.

Controversy Before Creation

Ferrell_movie_NYPostcover

By Livia Trevino

It’s hard to make a movie about a real person’s life. You have to make sure not to offend the person (if their still alive) or their families. It’s a risk that a lot of filmmakers take and it often pays off. Take “Walk the Line” or “Ray”, for instance. But what if the movie offends people before it’s even made? What does that do to the image of the actor who is the face of it all?

Will Ferrell has been in talks to produce and star in a movie about the late Ronald Reagan. The movie has been described as an “Alzheimer’s comedy” by TheWrap.com. It centers around Reagan’s last term as President where he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and an intern tries to help him by convincing him that he’s an actor who is playing the President.

As soon as people heard about Ferrell’s consideration in the project, Twitter filled with comedians and politicians urging Ferrell not to go through with it. #AlzheimersIsntFunny was one of the hashtags that people used to show their disdain for the movie.

Ferrell eventually decided not to go through with the project be cause of the backlash it had created. His publicist released the following statement on The New York Post on Friday:

“The 48-year-old comic confirmed Friday that while he had seen the script and considered signing on to star in and produce “Reagan,” he was no longer going ahead with the project. A spokesperson for Will said, “The REAGAN script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”

The big question to come out of all of this is what this controversy did to Ferrell’s image. With comedians and a late President’s family upset at you, there is going to be a lot of apologies and charity work for Alzheimer’s organizations in Will Ferrell’s future.

 

References:

Smith, E. (2016, April 29). Will Ferrell pulls out of Reagan Alzheimer’s comedy. The New York Post. Retrieved from http://pagesix.com/2016/04/29/will-ferrell-pulls-out-of-reagan-alzheimers-comedy/

Sneider, J. (2016, April 27). Will Ferrell to Play Ronald Reagan in Alzheimer’s Comedy ‘Reagan’. The Wrap. Retrieved from http://www.thewrap.com/will-ferrell-to-play-ronald-reagan-in-alzheimers-comedy-reagan/

Young, S. (2016, April 29). Will Ferrell hears critics, abandons Ronald Reagan ‘dementia comedy’. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/398987c6-b425-416f-a68b-5fb7954bf18d.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter 

Picture- Will Ferrell hears critics, abandons Ronald Reagan ‘dementia comedy (2016) Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/398987c6-b425-416f-a68b-5fb7954bf18d.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter