Here’s a media strategy for you: Circle the wagons and blame the messengers.
The Long Beach, California, City Council is fuming at the author of The Cranky Flier aviation blog, Brett Snyder, for the interview he did with JetBlue CEO Dave Barger.
In the interview, “Barger [told Snyder] the airline was so frustrated with the slow pace of improvements at Long Beach Airport that it could eventually pull out if the pace didn’t pick up,” reports USA Today. “The story was picked up and reported on by much of the L.A.-area media. The reports then prompted the council to add the topic to the agenda during a meeting last week.”
And how did the city council react? They were mad at the blogger for writing the post and angry at mainstream press for picking up the story.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, “some council members criticized the slow process that has yet to see ground break on any improvements at the airport … (but) much of the criticism was focused on the blog that started the whole thing—crankyflier.com, which had posted, verbatim, the interview with Barger.”
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said: "We should not take blogs as professional journalism, and the professional journalists should take that as well."
Both the Press-Telegram and Los Angeles Times, which picked up the story, verified the interview and added relevant background information, USA Today reports.
The Press-Telegram also said, “[Long Beach] Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske seemed to indicate that because city management and the council hadn't heard about Barger's concerns, the blog interview shouldn't be taken seriously.”
USA Today said Schipske called media reports citing Snyder's interview with Barger “irresponsible.”
Last year, a British paper ranked The Cranky Flier number 29 out of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs.
Snyder defended himself.
“It doesn’t matter if this was written on a bathroom wall,” he wrote. “It came directly from the CEO of the largest airline at this airport. Does it really do any good to try to discredit blogs or traditional media in the process? No. It also shows that (city council members are) quite out of touch with the current state of reporting. There are many reputable blogs and discrediting them with a blanket statement like that will most certainly not serve them well.”
How’s that for a media relations strategy?
(Thanks, Mike, for passing this one along.)