Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good Publicity Is Not Good Morality

A firestorm of bad publicity has led News Corp. to a good decision:

NEW YORK -- After a firestorm of criticism, News Corp. said Monday that it has canceled the O.J. Simpson book and TV special "If I Did It.''

"I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson." (WSJ)

If Murdoch & Co. were truly concerned about the feelings of the victims' families, they would not have touched this property in the first place, let alone promote -- if you'll excuse a rather apt metaphore here -- the hell out of over the last several weeks, each spot, each news story twisting a dagger in the emotional hearts of Ron's and Nicole's families.

No, this choice had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with attempting to salvage a tarnished corporate reputation. Murdoch's statement is ill-worded even if his action is acknowledged with grudging gratitude. A better statement:

We made a terrible mistake, and we regret that mistake. We know we have caused great harm to the Goldman and Brown families and to many others, and we apologize deeply for the consequences of our ill-adviced decision to promote this morally reprehensible book.

Too honest by far, eh?

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