Friday, February 12, 2010

How to play "PR Ping Pong"

Everybody's doing a brand new dance, now.

It's called "PR Ping Pong."

Here's how you play: a reporter calls you up and you decline to comment. They then call up the other party in the story, and they refer the reporter to their spokesperson, and they decline to comment too.

And around and around it goes.

Today, lucky Los Angeles Times reporter Ben Fritz got his chance to play PR Ping Pong. Investigating Viacom's SEC filing to get a "substantial portion" of the $150 million payout it gave Harmonix, the makers of the Rock Band video game, his first natural stop was calling Viacom.

"A spokesman for Viacom declined to elaborate. Harmonix Chief Executive Alex Rigopulos referred questions to a spokesman, who also declined to comment."

I fear both Viacom and Harmomix put reporter Ben Fritz into some kind of journalism infinite loop matrix where he may never hear a comment again and is fated to spend the rest of his days bouncing back and forth between silent spokespeople.

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