Wead transforms nothing into something

There are two kinds of scandal in modern US politics: Those with a soundtrack and those without.

There are two kinds of scandal in modern US politics: Those with a soundtrack and those without.

In the former category we have the doozies: Watergate and the Clinton/Lewinsky affair. The others, the ones that don't involve private conversations surreptitiously taped, may have had their impact on US history, but they were never as much fun. For example, when did you last hear an Iran-Contra joke?

But now, thanks to an old friend of President Bush, we have a third category: Scandals with tape, but no scandal.

Author/historian Doug Wead, who was all buddy-buddy with the Prez when he was only an aspiring warmonger, released tapes to the media last weekend of supposedly private talks between he and W.

Naturally, the media wasted no time wetting itself.

Screaming headlines over the weekend trumpeted the release of the tapes. And transcripts appeared in Sunday newspapers with Ziggy-like frequency.

America could be forgiven, though, for not being shocked by what the tapes "revealed."

It turns out that Bush is a Christian. He also smoked marijuana in his youth. And he does not think men should lose their jobs simply because they are gay.

True, that last one is a pretty stunning revelation to anyone born in 2004 or people who watch Fox News. But the rest of us realized pretty quickly there was no scandal here.

There were, however, book sales. Wead's most recent tome, The Raising of a President, had soared more than 2000% on Amazon's sales rankings by Monday. And Wead had given more media interviews than an actress in a desperate Oscar bid.

So kudos to Wead for knowing the value of what he had - despite having nothing. The man has a bright future in PR.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's Washington, DC, bureau chief.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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