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Jack O’Dwyer is Less Woodward & Bernstein, More Statler & Waldorf

November 2, 2011 Leave a comment
Jack O'Dwyer is Statler & Waldorf, not Woodard & Bernstein

Jack O'Dwyer is Statler & Waldorf, not Woodard & Bernstein

If Jack O’Dwyer’s journalistic credentials were ever in question before, let all doubt be removed with his recent flurry of scandal-mongering.

Responding to PRSA’s thorough documentation of O’Dwyer’s unethical behavior and rationale for his lack of press credentials at the latest PRSA International Conference, O’Dwyer has ramped up his campaign against the organization and is now incorporating students in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

Unlike Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who have taken an objective approach to covering the US Government in their careers, Jack O’Dwyer is much more like Statler and Waldorf – the comical gadflies on the Muppets who criticize the performers no matter what they do.

It’$ All About the Benjamin$

The economic backbone of O’Dwyer’s operation is, like much of the traditional media, based on “eyeballs” (ie subscribers, traffic to his website, etc).  In order for it to be financially-viable, O’Dwyer needs to be perceived as being an important figure in the public relations industry where his trade is plied, and to have attention-grabbing material to write about. Read more…

PRSA 2011 Assembly Flash Mob Video (Featuring Jack O’Dwyer)

October 31, 2011 2 comments

This year I took a break from organizing flash mobs like I did in 2009 and 2010 and instead handed the reins over to Jack O’Dwyer, my favorite curmudgeon.

O’Dwyer’s repeated unethical and illegal behavior forced the organization to take the step of refusing to issue him press credentials (the evidence against O’Dwyer and the rationale for the move are detailed eloquently in this blog post by PRSA).  Here’s my favorite part of their response to his complaints about not being allowed in:

“Mr. O’Dwyer is an activist, and he has the right to be one. But much like the author of the “Sprint Really Sucks”blog would not be invited to attend the annual meeting of Sprint shareholders, so, too, does PRSA have the right to deny access to an activist who harasses our employees, volunteers and business partners.”
– (Arthur Yann, ‘Aren’t You Tired Of It By Now Too?’, October 26th 2011)

So O’Dwyer became a one-man flashmob, posting himself outside the entrance to the assembly with a fistful of papers (some of which looked like a list of names that were being checked).  I took the opportunity to shoot this video of O’Dwyer camped in the public space outside the assembly so that people could get an idea of how he conducts himself:

Regarding the comments O’Dwyer made on the phone and his generally-unprofessional conduct:

  • The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) invited O’Dwyer to resign his membership.
  • Vendors clearly have no problem with PRSA’s decision, nor do they have any problems accessing O’Dwyer to mug for the camera as these examples show:
    • Example 1: (Sidebar: This is one of my favorite videos of all time as it shows how completely out-of-step O’Dwyer is with the rest of the world – he’s asked to defend his position that public relations people should never be allowed to interact directly with the public (because they apparently have special communication powers that make it an inherently unfair situation.  No lie – he actually believes that – it’s one of his many criticisms of PRSA.)
    • Example 2
    • Example 3
  • As I mentioned in the video – if O’Dwyer wanted to find out what was going on in the conference, the hashtags #prsadelegates and #prsa_leaders carried unfiltered discussion about each moment of the 2011 Assembly directly from the attendees.  Unfortunately Mr. O’Dwyer is the journalistic equivalent of a coelacanth (something you believe is extinct until you actually encounter one in the wild) and isn’t a very skilled user of social media.
Thus far the handful of advocates for journalistic access who have published content in support of O’Dwyer have demonstrated that they’re painfully ignorant of the situation they’re inserting themselves into.  Let this be a warning to any others that they may want to vet Jack O’Dwyer before itching their wagon to his and turning him into the poster child for transparency.

Another Rupert O’Dwyer Revelation – PRSA Documented Website Hacks

July 26, 2011 7 comments

For JO, Kisses - Rupe

Amazingly, there’s a new revelation in the PRSA Phone Hacking scandal involving Jack O’Dwyer and his publication.  Vice President of Public Relations for PRSA Arthur Yann revealed in a comment on this blog yesterday that PRSA has evidence that someone accessed the private, password-protected, members-only section of PRSA’s website from an IP address traced back to O’Dwyer’s PR. Read more…

Has Rupert O’Dwyer Admitted to Hacking PRSA Conference Calls?

July 25, 2011 5 comments

Has Rupert O'Dwyer Admitted to Hacking PRSA Conference Calls?

As a follow-up to my previous entry, today’s blog post from Jack O’Dwyer (“PRSA Stonewall Battered by Facts“) appears to drop a bombshell in the form of a possible admission that his organization did indeed access the conference calls of the Public Relations Society of America without permission (a timely reveal given the News Corp phone hacking scandal currently unfolding in the UK).

In it, he provides specific details about the teleconferences themselves (including timing and participation).  Here’s a sample: Read more…

“Rupert O’Dwyer and the PRSA Phone Hack” or “Ethics Schmethics”

July 19, 2011 2 comments

The ongoing skirmish between Jack O’Dwyer and the Public Relations Society of America has taken some dark turns in recent weeks as O’Dwyer has amped up his accusations against the professional organization (which is saying something as O’Dwyer has analogized PRSA to the Third Reich in the past).

Alexandra Bruell at Advertising Age wrote a very thorough piece dissecting the conflict (“PR Group Accuses Writer of Phone Hacking: In Wake of Murdoch Hearings, PRSA Points Finger at O’Dwyer“).

It’s highly salient that O’Dwyer did not deny the phone hacking in his blog (arguing instead that it would be perfectly legitimate if it did indeed occur):

“He accuses us of improperly listening to Society teleconferences. Those teleconferences should be open to members and non-members as well as the press since PRS claims to speak for the entire industry.”

As he’s well-known for dogging his sources, in perhaps the most perfect example of hypocrisy O’Dwyer was unavailable for comment. Read more…