Out of Scope Issue 106: The Gradual Twitter Exodus
Plus: The Rat Czar rises, and greenwashing galore.
This week, the Hirsch Leatherwood team examines the Twitter boycott from two U.S. media staples – NPR and PBS – and what this fallout means for the social media platform’s longevity. We also dive into some lighter topics, including New York City’s Campaign Against Rats and former President Obama’s annual reading list. No matter the case, authentic but succinct messages remain both essential and challenging in the media landscape.
💡ON OUR MINDS: Political Label Wars
On Wednesday, NPR announced that it is suspending the use of Twitter after being labeled “state-affiliated media” by the platform – an implication that NPR claims “undermines our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk did not take well to the public boycott, immediately taking to his platform to defend the label and “outing” the organization’s reliance on government funding. But the public controversy didn’t stop PBS from following suit with NPR the next day by abandoning the platform after also receiving a new state-backed label.
Notably, the labels given to NPR and PBS match that Twitter gives to foreign news sites that are heavily influenced by autocratic leaders, like Russia Today and China's Xinhua. NPR and PBS argue that their given labels are too simplistic and leave the impression that the organizations are wholly government funded.
Amidst all this noise, Twitter and Musk have been promoting new feature updates such as extended word count and bolded text. As Musk continues to tarnish the platform’s reputation and consumer trust, we anticipate the slow but sure collapse of Twitter as we know it will indeed happen.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
It’s rare for city politics to make much buzz outside of a corruption scandal or doomed mayoral campaign. Yet, New York City’s Campaign Against Rats has risen to the top of TikTok feeds and headlines, not once, but twice now. After NYC’s Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch broke the internet in December, with the now inescapable statement, “The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city, we do,” recently appointed Rat Czar Kathleen Corradi followed with an equally viral sentiment: “You’ll be seeing a lot of me and lot less rats.” It’s a great reminder for all comms professionals: it doesn’t get better than imagery and a succinct message.
Vanity Fair dives deep on Rupert Murdoch and his dynasty, exploring how personal drama and boardroom politics are impacting the Fox News empire and the wider media landscape. For anyone invested in the state of media (or anyone who watches Succession) it’s a must read. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/04/rupert-murdoch-cover-story
A goal without a plan is just a wish, and when it comes to sustainability, corporations worldwide are still wishing away. Despite increased regulations on corporate greenwashing, nearly 60% of executives surveyed in a new global study reported that their own organizations exaggerated sustainability efforts. Most blamed poor planning rather than intentional misdirection, reminding leaders everywhere that a public pledge is only as good as the strategy behind it.
In case you missed these stories.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, a global CEO who sees communications and branding as a vital part of daily operations and larger strategy, announced the first-ever Chief Brand Officer of The Walt Disney Company.
In an era rife with contrived messaging, former President Obama’s annual reading list makes the case for authenticity.
In another blow to the vaping market, Juul agreed to pay a $462 million settlement for marketing its product to young users—just a year after cigarettes’ alleged comeback.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf shared how health misinformation is driving U.S. life expectancy down, noting the negative influence of our country’s exposure to a wide range of information sources.
Thanks for reading,
This week’s newsletter is brought to you by all the Swifties, including the Duolingo owl, who appears to be going through it after Taylor Swift’s recent breakup.
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