Mayor Chavez’s Girl Problems, And the ABQ Journal Drops the Ball
No snappy introduction for this one.
It appears that the Duke City’s Mayor Chavez has decided to act more like Hugo Chavez and wage a PR campaign against those who dare to oppose him.
I’m shocked, shocked I say!
A few weeks back a member of the mayor’s staff “just happens” to call the mayor’s talk radio show (I’m just curious, do Mayor Chavez or his advertisers pay for the airtime?) and “just happens” to promote the mayor’s position trashing the City Council. Oh yeah, and she “just happens” to do it while using a false name. Not to obfuscate the public, you see, but because she fears “reprisals” from the City Council.
And the Mayor didn’t recognize her voice. Despite the fact that she’s the city’s financial officer. Despite the fact that members of the council and other ABQ City staff recognized her voice right away.
Yeah, I’m not buying it either.
When Mayor Chavez’s CFO was contacted by the press and asked about it she basically said “maybe, possibly it was me, but I can’t be sure.” Then, to make her point, she physically covered her ass.
Not that you would find that out by reading the Journal‘s story about the incident. They gave Mayor Chavez and his staff time to work on a PR response and ran it, without comment from KKOB-AM, the station that runs the mayor’s show or anyone on the City Council. The Journal is reinforcing the belief people have that all they do is carry water for Mayor Chavez. Show me the last time that Jim Ludwick wrote a story critical of Mayor Chavez. He doesn’t do them, and it hurts the Journal’s line that they are the leading “objective voice” of Albuquerque. What could a couple of phone calls to the City Council have hurt? At least you could have claimed to have made an effort to get the other side of the story.
Which is what the Tribune did. At least the Trib went after “Linda,” contacted members of the City Council and asked KKOB staff if that was standard operating procedure for the station. They started to call out Mayor Chavez and “Linda” for the obvious PR stunt they’ve pulled.
You see, I’ve worked in public relations and the media for a little while now (1 year full-time, 2 years of internships while working at in the media, oh yeah and that 10 years with the press), and what Mayor Chavez and “Linda” have tried to pull is ethically questionable at best.
I’ve seen this before in political and public relations campaigns. When your side is calling in to a radio or TV show, you want to get as many of your people as possible to flood the phone line and give the appearance that more people agree with your position than actually do. That’s how you start to influence the public and set the agenda of what gets discussed and plant the seed to change someone’s opinion.
Or, if you run the show, you get people to call up with talking points and allow them to run smack about your opponents. Which is what happened here. Mayor Chavez has been butting heads with the City Council over pay raises and $9M that the city is going to give the county for the jail among other things. The City Council is not as pliant as Mayor Chavez wants them to be, but he can’t come out and attack them too much because he has to work with them. So he gets one of his staff members to call up and do the attacking for him, and stroke his ego (“You’ve got to just keep vetoing this stuff, mayor.”). And the mayor has some level of “plausible denial.”
That’s how it’s supposed to work. That is, if it doesn’t backfire, and people throughout the office recognize your caller’s voice and realize that she works for you.