Pizza express? A great place for an alibi.

JA1

Last week in the news was a certain member of the British Royal family, ohh yes, you’ve guessed it. It was Prince Andrew and he has had an absolute PR nightmare this week because of his relationship with convicted Human trafficker and sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Once I heard he was voluntarily doing this interview I couldn’t actually get my head around it, Epstein has been dead for months and there was no noise at all from the Windsor’s no communication on the issue at all. What on earth made the Royal family who I would assume have a strict communication policy actually allow this to happen? I’m very sure an inquest into this will be held and someone will be held responsible.

The interview itself was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward things I’ve ever watched. Prince Andrew himself did not seem at all comfortable with the discussion as a whole. Surprisingly most of Prince Andrews Public relations advisers wanted him too to do the interview, however only one advisor Jason Stein was against the idea. Stein had previously been special advisor or “Spin doctor” to Amber Rudd and left the role by mutual consent because he knew how much of a backlash the Prince would face from the interview and he was correct.

The interview took place on BBC Newsnight and was approved by the Queen, every answer Prince Andrew gave seemed like even he doubted them. The reason for the interview was a picture of Prince Andrew with one of Epstein’s sexual slaves Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, she was a young woman who had been trafficked by Epstein and remained a slave. She stated that she danced with a sweaty prince Andrew and that they had sexual relations something he strongly denies. The answer Prince Andrew gave was the strangest response I’ve ever heard to a sexual allegation “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.” He did not actually deny the allegation of sexual abuse but said he didn’t sweat instead, he did not have to worry because he had half the nation sweating for him.

He also stated that he had an alibi for the date that Virginia Roberts-Giuffre stated that they had sexual relations “I was with the children and I’d taken [daughter Princess] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon.”.When asked by the BBC why he would remember a meal at Pizza Express 18 years later, he said: “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.” I think remembering taking your daughter for a party 18 years ago is most unusual thing, how could anyone physically remember this event, but I suppose Pizza express is as good as place for an alibi as any.

Once he had denied all of this there’s still the question of the picture of himself and Virginia Roberts-Giuffre together smiling while he has his arm around her waist, and it looks like a perfectly normal photo until you release the context. Of course, this was the response by Prince Andrew “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken” from this I don’t think he can prove it’s a doctored photograph and not remembering something does not mean it didn’t happen. Who ever is advising on the wording of his script definitely did not read over it again. When asked about his hand around the young woman’s waist he stated “I am not one to, as it were, hug, and public displays of affection are not something that I do… I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested. “He also added: “That’s me but whether that’s my hand or whether that’s the position I… but I don’t… I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken”. At this point he seemed nervous by the questions and he actually stammered as you can see in the quotes, he wasn’t even convinced by the story himself. If you’re going to lie at least be confident about it, the entire episode reminds me of the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky case and unlike Bill who just simply point blank lied. Andrew has confused himself and his story during the interview and has not cleared a thing up in my opinion.

He did not even express regret or apologies to the victims of his billionaire friend Epstein instead he said, “The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.” If this interviews purpose was to create a more positive public image of Prince Andrew and to repair the damage that his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein caused, it has done the complete opposite of this desired effect and quiet simply been a PR meltdown that the Prince may never recover from.

 

Jordan Arthur is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/jordan-arthur-864694173 and Facebook – facebook.com/jordanarthur.71 

Donald Trump’s PR spin war

 

Trump image
The 20th of January 2017 is a date which will forever stick out in my mind as it is the date that Donald Trump was officially elected as the 45th president of the United states of America and the political sphere of the world changed forever. The strangest fact of the entire election was that Trump didn’t win the popular vote he actually lost it to Hillary Clinton by 2.8 million votes, this is the highest margin that a candidate has ever lost by in the popular vote and still won the election. However, a story at the time which stated that Trump had won the popular vote had over 450,000 shares on Facebook, this is increasingly ironic as in the Trump era of “fake news” one of the first articles of his presidency was indeed fake news.

This increasingly shows us how in this technological age how there is now a new form of propaganda which gives the user a voice and an opinion and it doesn’t have to be factual or accurate and with the American first amendment for the freedom of speech it is almost impossible to halt. Propaganda in the modern age of public relations was defined by Edward Bernays in post-World War One society, however at this time the media sphere was limited with only a few broadcasters. The narrative that they put forward was easily manipulated. Now in the modern media sphere with the limitless web that is the internet there are many broadcasters and now for the first-time individuals are the greatest creators of content not organisations and this cannot be manipulated or censored to the degree that it was.

The president’s public image has been something that has stood out throughout his term and campaign. In late 2015 Donald Trump openly mocked a disabled reporter Serge Koraleski he stated “you’ve got to see this guy” before jerking his arm in which I can only describe as a condemnable act. Trump later denied that had not intended to mock the reporter and was not aware of his disability, however the reporter in question later said that he had known Trump and they were on first name basis and that he was aware of his disability. I now ask the question how could the American public vote for such a man, the simple answer is Trump is somewhat of a public relations master.

Whatever we personally think about Donald Trump what he has accomplished is something incredible. How could a businessman with many successes and failures and with no prior political experience become the president of the United States. The secret to his success you could say is down partly to the fact Trump had an excellent public relations team.  A good public relations team will soften past incidents and will enhance the positives. During his campaign Trump used very well-placed campaign tactics to win over the public, his campaign focused on stimulating the silent masses who had felt that they were under-represented by the previous more liberal Obama administration and he also tuned into their lack of understanding on the improvement of the economy by stating he was bringing American jobs back to America in places such as Detroit in the efforts to “make America great again”.

The fact that Trump was already a well-known celebrity also certainly aided in his campaign, Trump had appeared in over twelve movies and was also the star of the America version of The Apprentice.  In a society that knows more about the Kardashians’ children than of their own government Trump’s recognized celebrity status meant that he had to spend very little on advertising and publicity. In another smart move Trump ensured he spoke directly to the people and avoided confusing political jargon that would distance him from his target audience. Trump made clear cut straight to the point language and did not sugar coat the problems he faced and made fun of political opponents and this connected with his audience as he aimed to be a man of the people not just another academic politician.

With over 5.5 million Twitter followers and 5.5 million Facebook likes Donald Trump has become the mastermind of social media politics. He actually referred to himself as the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters which is ironic if you have actually read his tweets and they are not what you can describe as a masterpiece. Through the use of Instagram and YouTube Trump has given himself free publicity as they are regularly picked up by news channels. As I asked early how could Americans vote for this man? The simple answer is Donald Trump like any good business man knew his audience and the brand he was selling, and he sold it with 100% conviction, he knew what the American public wanted, and he gave it to them in abundance. I believe with all the certainly in have in my mind that Donald Trump will be re-elected as he has given the majority the political freedom and in the land of the free what more can a person want.

Jordan Arthur is a 2nd year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/jordan-arthur-864694173 and Facebook – facebook.com/jordanarthur.71