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Can Rubenstein Help Save Kramer?

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In Silicon Valley, there is one must read – it’s TechMeme. Gabe Rivera has done a great job at getting the zeitgeist of the Web 2.0 and blogging leaders – and heck, I’m in there, so it’s gotta be great.

He always laughs at me, though, because I tell him his more important property is WeSmirch - the gossip blog aggregator. And, let’s be honest – in PR and publicity, gossip is what makes the world go round. Heck, the top blogs and TV shows are gossip-based (and I am not talking about the Technorati 100, but those blogs that are read by more people but are not thought of as blogs – like TMZ or Perez Hilton).
Hell, I knew I had made it as a blogger when I was on the same email as Perez, being pitched the Lucky cover with Alexis Bledel, and the chance for 60 entrants to win the DVD of Gilmore Girl’s season six. Come on – how cool!

But, if you read WeSmirch, you know that Michael Richards went insane and off on a racial rant at a recent comedy club outing – here’s the video from TMZ. He also did the apology – half-assed and odd to me – on David Letterman.

This morning – while unable to sleep – I was watching FOX News and saw … that Richards has hired Howard Rubenstein. In PR, there are certain rules of engagement. And, one of them is if you are a celebrity, you go get Howard. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Rubenstein, partially because he was so nice when I interviewed him for this blog. He was interviewed early – before the blogging buzz got nuts – but he was gracious and nice.

But, can he save a man that has gone on two racial tirades – one against Blacks, one against Jews – and whose excuse for one is that he was angry, and the other is that he can’t be anti-Semitic since he’s Jewish (um, hello, ever hear of a self-hating Jew?). Rubenstein is a genius, and he is setting up Richards with meetings with some of the top community members of the African-American community … but is that the right route? We have seen how Alan Nierob has handled the Mel incident - alcohol, bad rants, etc. But this is very different … with the wonderful world of online video.

Is the usual dog and pony enough in a wired world? People have already passed judgement, the hecklers claim they are going to sue Michael Richards (but not sure for what), and it is just getting worse and worse with more claims of racism coming forward.

Others would say “launch a blog” and that would usually make me vomit. Everything does not need a blog, and in this situation, I think it would only fan the flames and make it worse. But, there must be some type of strategy that could marry online and traditional PR … I am just not sure what it may be. Maybe vidcasting … hello Blip.tv?

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Jeremy Pepper is the CEO and founder of POP! Public Relations, a public relations firm based in Arizona, USA.

He authors the popular Musings from POP! Public Relations blog which offers Jeremy’s opinions and views – on public relations, publicity and other things.

Can Rubenstein Help Save Kramer?
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