Last call: Ex-pro from Amazon proves that he can spin both ways

CNBC VP of public relations Paul Capelli last week found himself in one of those shoe-on-the-other-foot situations.

Turns out that his former boss, Amazon overlord Jeff Bezos (Capelli was second-in-command for the CEO's PR squad through April), recently made an 11th-hour decision to skip out on a scheduled interview on CNBC's Market Wrap. The reason? Show host Maria Bartiromo, a.k.a. 'The Money Honey,' informed Bezos that Wall Street Journal reporter Steve Frank would be sitting in on the interview and contributing questions of his own.

In what looked on the surface like a smart PR move - avoiding impromptu on-air interrogation by an especially sharp scribe - came out looking like a case of cold feet in the publications that chronicled Bezos' back-out.

On the air, Bartiromo told viewers that CNBC had canceled the interview because the network refused to allow guests to choose who asks the questions.

And in the New York Post the following day, Capelli backed up the Money Honey: 'Maria told him firmly that we have a policy of not allowing guests to dictate the terms of our interviews.'

Back in Seattle, Amazon spokesperson Lizzie Allen had no good explanation for Bezos' last-minute decision. 'Things changed in the last 15 minutes and it just couldn't be done,' she told the Post. You can bet Capelli's counting his lucky stars that he's no longer walking in Allen's shoes.

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