Quote of the Day: “Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach’s ‘St. Matthew’s Passion’ on a ukulele.”
- Bagdikian’s Observation
A calendar girl came to visit today and what could make a busy Friday even more busy and hectic? Why, having a calendar girl visit the Wounded Warriors, of course.
But why stop there? How about we set the whole thing up but don’t tell the public affairs office that she is coming until a couple of days before?
Still not enough? OK, how about the calendar girl calls up the paper and just happens to get in touch with the one reporter who, unbeknownst to her, wants to dig dirt and write Geraldo-esque scandals about the hospital. So when we turn THAT off, he screams freedom of the press and throws my name in there by saying I said it was OK.
If this were to happen, you might see an email to the Public Affairs Officer that says something like…
I just got word that the hospital is barring us from coming to the facility to cover () as she hands out her calendars. She and CPT Grose jointly invited us to join her, an invitation that we accepted because we thought it was a unique event of interest to our readers. CPT Grose said he would contact you, and we assumed all was in order.
My editors and I believe that your decision is inappropriate, and that the hospital is interfering with our right to cover a newsworthy event as well as CPT Grose’s right to gain recognition for the members of his unit who have served well in combat. We strongly urge you to reverse your decision and provide a media escort at 1300 Friday as planned. If none is available, then please allow CPT Grose to serve as our escort.
If you choose not to allow us to cover this event, then I will request an interview with RADM () Friday to explain the reasons. Your explanation will certainly be of interest to our readers, who have shown significant interest in issues involving wounded veterans.
And then you might write a response that goes something like…
Wonderful. Just how I wanted this to turn out.
OK, so now I guess it’s my turn to explain my role in all of this.
I thought I did my part in contacting the PAO on the upcoming visit. You were out of pocket last week so I waited until Monday but then I thought you would be busy playing catch-up after being gone a week. I emailed you thinking that would be the best way to get it on your plate in time to get a response.
I got your VM back saying everything was fine except no reporters. At the same time I got flak from () for “going straight to the PAO” without going through her.
I told her “it’s (), I didn’t think you two were talking, and since I was the push for this event, I should do the legwork to get the PAO OK but fine, if you want to work it, less work for me.”
Then I was stuck because () had already talked to this (reporter) and told him about the event before I got the wave off. I had () calling me, the reporter calling me, and I had told them both I was still ironing out the wrinkles and I would be getting back to them.
I went to () telling her I was in a real bind because I needed a definite answer. She responded by sending you a “formal” request which under the circumstances, didn’t help matters. Meanwhile, I was avoiding calls from () and the reporter knowing they needed answers that I didn’t have on the outside hope that something would change. I finally heard from () that it was a definite no.
So I called () today and told her. No reporter. I suggested she set up a meeting with this reporter away from the hospital since his interest was in her story and he could write what he wanted. I would then take her to the hospital ALONE and she could hand out the calendars as authorized.
The next thing I know, I get this email. () had asked me to call the reporter after I told her he couldn’t come and I said I would but up to now, had put it off thinking () would let him know.
For the record, I never discussed my “right to gain recognition for the members of his unit who have served well in combat” with this guy and don’t appreciate being represented as such. I may not agree with the decision but I know I am bound by the decisions and once made, I must and will adhere to them. I asked, was told no, and honored the decision as though it was my own.
So then when you get it turned off, let’s make it so the word doesn’t get all the way around so that the public affairs office and the XO of the hospital gets bum scoop and thinks the reporter is showing up anyway.
Just to make it all fun of course.
Let me back up a bit. Awhile back I was contacted by a model who made a calendar based on the old 40s and 50s pin up models. You know, the sexy but not pornographic shots of ladies usually painted on the front of planes?
You get the idea. I wrote more about it here.
Anyway, Gina made a calendar of those kinds of shots and her intent was to get them into the hands of servicemen past, present, and future. The way she intended to do this was to make the calendars and get people of companies to buy them for either themselves or for servicemen.
Then she would take these purchased calendars and when possible, distribute and autograph them personally to the recipients.
Additionally, she took all the profit she made and handed it over to the VFW.
So when she contacted me, I wanted to help her get into Balboa so she could give them to the Wounded Warriors.
We all had good intentions, huh?
After much coordination, Gina drove down from LA to San Diego with her mother and I met her at the base. I was under a bit of stress since this whole visit had caused the uproar I explained above but it was neat to meet her in person.
The first question she asked me is if the outfit she was wearing would be OK. She had kind of high white shorts and a tube-top thing so I told her that maybe as a result of all the commotion surrounding this visit, maybe something a little more conservative was in order. She agreed and changed into a dress.
I got her over to the hospital and we gathered the Wounded Warriors. Everything went really smooth except I had to reiterate not to take any pictures. When it came down to it, I had to make sure no pictures were taken and Gina was kind of bummed about that because she likes to put them on her site for exposure.
After the signing, she had to go and I felt like I had tried to do a good thing that had kind of bit me on the ass. Don’t get me wrong, I would have done it again because it was for the Wounded Warriors and Gina had worked so hard to benefit my Marines. I just don’t understand why it is so complicated to do something nice sometimes and hated that it put a blanket on the entire event.
I had to stop and think afterward. Gina had wanted to come to the hospital and she did. She wanted to hand out her calendars to the Wounded Marines. She did. The Wounded Marines got to talk to her.
So I guess the rest is just the price of business and I was glad everyone benefited.
I want to thank Gina for all her hard work and coming down from LA to make the Wounded Warriors’ day brighter at least for one Friday the 13th in April.
Free Advice for Today: “Don’t forget that your attitude is just as important as the facts.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.