Bury Bad News on Friday: Saturday is Dead

We all know if you want to release bad national news you do it on the weekend when no one is reading blogs or newspapers or watching: Bad News Runs into Weekends!

Run It On Friday!


Few of us knew, however, that there has been an ongoing concern in the Bush administration to release all bad news “late on Friday” because all the major news organizations will fail to report it to the wider audiences they serve during the work week.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports:

It is unclear whether the first week of the trial will help
or hurt Libby or the administration. But the trial has already pulled
back the curtain on the White House’s PR techniques and confirmed some
of the darkest suspicions of the reporters upon whom they are used.
Relatively junior White House aides run roughshod over members of the
president’s Cabinet.

Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and
the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important
issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose
of burying it.
With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained
the use of late-Friday statements. “Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday,” she said. “Fewer people pay attention when it’s reported on Saturday.”

Now we know when we need to really pay attention to what comes out of the White House: Watch the News Wires on Friday Nights!
Read and write your favorite Blogs on Saturday and Sunday for Bad News reporting we’ve all been missing. Watch. Analyze. Report. Comment!

35 comments

  • Wow. As much as I have little respect for what goes on in the White House, and despite not being much of a one for Politics, I have to ask. Is this even legal?
    What purpose is being served by keeping pertinent news out of the media? It’s all going to come out eventually right?

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  • Hi Dawn!
    You ask very important questions! The White House feels that by revealing bad news on late Friday they are doing their duty by being “open and honest” while knowing full-well what they are saying will be buried under the rush to get home, get drunk and go out partying by most of the nation who see Friday nights as their first opportunity to escape from the reality of their everyday work lives.
    Saturday is reserved for hangovers.
    Sunday is a day of depression as Monday looms large.
    By Monday, Friday’s news is Old News and the whole plan is so cunning and disingenuous.

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  • It does seem distasteful to do this. Is anyone surprised by this?

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  • I guess the surpise, Anne, is that the White House is confirming they want to buy bad news using this method.

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  • It is a well known tactic over here – taken to new heights by this pair who lost their jobs over it.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1823120.stm

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  • It is a well known tactic over here – taken to new heights by this pair who lost their jobs over it.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1823120.stm

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  • Nice.
    You and I are not surprised that Weekend News is Dead News. We know just from the blog here how scant readership is on the weekends. It comes as no surprise that interest in news would decrease, as well.

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  • Nice.
    You and I are not surprised that Weekend News is Dead News. We know just from the blog here how scant readership is on the weekends. It comes as no surprise that interest in news would decrease, as well.

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  • Wowser, Nicola! That’s a great link!
    My question is this: If we know this happens and if the MAJOR MEDIA KNOW they are being played by manipulated timetables, why don’t they fight it? Why don’t they make “The Friday Lies” the scooped news stories of the weekend — because aren’t those the biggest news stories — the stuff they don’t want us to know?

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  • Wowser, Nicola! That’s a great link!
    My question is this: If we know this happens and if the MAJOR MEDIA KNOW they are being played by manipulated timetables, why don’t they fight it? Why don’t they make “The Friday Lies” the scooped news stories of the weekend — because aren’t those the biggest news stories — the stuff they don’t want us to know?

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  • Right, Emily! We know the weekends are dead. People want a release from the everyday ugly and they get it from Friday night to Sunday night.
    The 24 House News Media should be even more vigilant on the weekends with this sort of self-revelation. They need to make these news stories important and notable and they must stop getting jobbed and delayed by rumor and celebrity reportage. Enough with Anna Nicole already!

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  • Right, Emily! We know the weekends are dead. People want a release from the everyday ugly and they get it from Friday night to Sunday night.
    The 24 House News Media should be even more vigilant on the weekends with this sort of self-revelation. They need to make these news stories important and notable and they must stop getting jobbed and delayed by rumor and celebrity reportage. Enough with Anna Nicole already!

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  • It does seem like a game worth pursuing. Watch all the press releases that come in on Friday night and Saturday and report them all weekend. Good investigators would see a pattern if they felt like connecting the dots on the weekends.

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  • It does seem like a game worth pursuing. Watch all the press releases that come in on Friday night and Saturday and report them all weekend. Good investigators would see a pattern if they felt like connecting the dots on the weekends.

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  • We need to stop thinking of “weekdays” and “weekends” from now on, Anne!
    Every day should be just as important as any other.
    We all know the “B Team” works on weekends in the media outlets while all the stars only work during the week when “The Real News” happens! That antiquated thinking is ripe for provocation and exploitation and now we know on-the-record that is precisely what’s happening by design.

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  • We need to stop thinking of “weekdays” and “weekends” from now on, Anne!
    Every day should be just as important as any other.
    We all know the “B Team” works on weekends in the media outlets while all the stars only work during the week when “The Real News” happens! That antiquated thinking is ripe for provocation and exploitation and now we know on-the-record that is precisely what’s happening by design.

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  • David- It’s just the “decoy commercial news substitute,” no matter what day it comes out. For closer to the truth, check out http://iraqforsale.org/ 24/7. Just got the video out of the local library. If Cheney and Halliburton, KBR and the like didn’t make one sick before, this will surely do it.

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  • David- It’s just the “decoy commercial news substitute,” no matter what day it comes out. For closer to the truth, check out http://iraqforsale.org/ 24/7. Just got the video out of the local library. If Cheney and Halliburton, KBR and the like didn’t make one sick before, this will surely do it.

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  • Thanks for that link, fred, it looks fascinating!
    What stumps me is that we know the good, juicy, important “bad news” is released on Friday so it gets buried — and we allow that burial to happen!
    We should be digging into that Friday night chaff goldmine and forcing it to the front and center of our minds and cultural values!

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  • Thanks for that link, fred, it looks fascinating!
    What stumps me is that we know the good, juicy, important “bad news” is released on Friday so it gets buried — and we allow that burial to happen!
    We should be digging into that Friday night chaff goldmine and forcing it to the front and center of our minds and cultural values!

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  • Hi David,
    When I was in J-school, we were taught that all bad news gets released at 5:45 p.m. so that it can’t make it onto the television news and will end up being stuck in the Saturday editions of the newspapers. I had a public relations class that even mentioned this as a way to handle bad news.
    The thing that is interesting is that in my area, you can get the Chicago Tribune Sunday edition on Saturday. If something bad comes out too late for it to make it into that first edition, it might be missed by people who picked up their paper at the newsstands Saturday evening.
    The big problem with the “Big Media” is that they have no sense of perspective. If it comes out right now, it must be published right now. If something else comes out ten minutes later, that must be published immediately. If you put something out on Friday evening, it will be reported when the least numbers of people are watching or reading and by the time the new week approached, it will be eclipsed by the next “big story” to pop.
    The “Astro-Nut” should feel very lucky that Anna Nicole died when she did because it effectively knocked her off the news cycle — except for niche media like Court TV.

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  • For an experiment that shows newspaper know Saturday is a slow day, call the display advertising department and ask if you can get a discount for running an ad on Saturday. They’ll probably be happy you called.
    Every time I’ve bought display advertising in the local newspaper, it has always been sold in “small business” packages for Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. These must be the biggest days for the newspaper.

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  • Here’s something interesting I found:

    Indeed, by releasing negative news on a Friday companies turn what should often be a one-day story into a five-day saga. For that reason alone, the late-Friday news release can be counterproductive, says Bruce Rubin, a PR consultant and founder of Miami-based RBB Public Relations, which specializes in litigation and crisis PR. “It can also damage your relationship with the media,” he adds. “If they get a sense you are trying to snooker them, it’s only going to make them angry and more suspicious and that’s not good PR.”
    To avoid such traps, it’s good practice for companies to have a standard time of day to issue press releases, says Ernie Knewitz, senior VP of corporate communications at Euro RSCG Life NRP (New York). “I tell companies to try and avoid Fridays and do it on Monday morning instead, unless there are some Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues, which sometimes makes it unavoidable.”

    Source: http://www.prnewsonline.com/legalpr/stats_friday.html

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  • Because it is not in their interests to fight it. There is an altogether too close relationship between the news media and the governments.
    They are co-dependent on each other in a very unhealthy manner.
    This is one report about where Mr Blair may be heading.
    http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article1202848.ece
    It is going to be interesting to look through was wasn’t reported yesterday and today when all the media was looking at the Anna Nicole Smith post mortem results.

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  • Hi Chris!
    Excellent analysis!
    You spoke too soon about our “Astro-Nut” though — MSNBC just did a big piece (right after their Anna Nicole non-update) called “What Causes a Person to Snap?” about our Nut. The MSNBC anchor, proselytizing and pontificating as usual saying, “She had a Masters degree. It’s such a tragedy.” Ugh! No sense of context or magnitude whatsoever.
    All the bad celebrity news — divorces, rehabs, arrests, etc. — are all announced on Friday evenings to kill the zing. The PR companies know when the news stars return on Monday morning that, “Only the freshest news will do!” just as you suggest! The PR companies are gaming the print and media cycles.
    I do not believe PR companies avoid bad news on the weekends. They crave to bury the bad. That’s why they make the big money. To claim otherwise is only to provide their media outlets cover for their lack of investigative curiosity.

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  • Yes, Nicola! It is a sick co-dependency between the mainstream media the celebrities and political interests.
    That’s where bloggers can step into the void and make a difference! Report what the big boys refuse to report!
    That Blair report sickens me. They deserve each other.

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  • Hi David,
    I suggest — after hearing your synopsis about the Astro-Nut — that the Masters Degree caused her to snap! Too much education can overheat the brain and that’s not good for society. ;) Therefore, we must prevent this from happening again and outlaw Masters Degrees. If we can save one person it will be well worth it! :mrgreen:
    Back to Saturday’s “hidden treasures.”
    Everyone buries bad news late Friday.
    Even in our local area, whenever there are stories about tax increases or some pol getting busted for corruption, it always is in the Saturday paper. :)

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  • Chris!
    I feel for the Nut. I really do. I thought about writing about her here, but she is so obviously unstable and wounded and hurt I didn’t want to contribute to the media circus surrounding her. Good people get lost. It is our job to help them find the way home.
    We really gotta watch Fridays from now on, Chris. Is there a PR service or a monitoring service or something to which we can subscribe to get the skinny on what’s being dumped so we can pull out of the garbage for analysis?

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  • After a few seconds of reflection, I’m thinking the Astro-Nut got a good deal by having the report on MSNBC, rather than another channel.
    If you run a story on MSNBC, isn’t that the same as putting it into the witness protection program? :)

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  • Hi David,
    You can get news alerts from Yahoo and Google via RSS. Maybe configure them to pick up certain keywords and double check them around 6 p.m. Friday evening.

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  • Chris!
    You’re right about MSNBC.
    Imus is great until 9am — then the mindless “News Babes” take over for a boring day commenting on the news they’re “reporting” until 4pm when Tucker and Chris start off the night right leading up to Keith.
    I don’t want stuff filtered by Google and Yahoo. I want the original press releases from the PR sources. Does the White House have a PR portal? Does PRNewswire offer individual updates? LexisNexis?

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  • David- The news doesn’t stay burried long. This “Cheney running the world” surfaced late Sunday.

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  • Please pardon the inadvertent misspelling of the “dishonorable” Cheny above. (at least he’s above something.)

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  • Right, Fred! That story needs to be on Page One and lead the Monday morning news! It didn’t, though. Anna Nicole still leads all the news outlets. Disgusting!

    Like

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