Friday, January 18, 2008

Biegel vs. Dentsu coverage continues to perplex

Ever since the phrase "Czech brothel" has become, in the ad industry, synonymous with a certain ad agency, I've been perplexed about the, um, variations in coverage of Steve Biegel vs. Dentsu, and today's developments have me scratching my head again. Last week, Adweek covered the presiding judge in the case's decision not to dismiss the case by back-burnering that issue—which seemingly would be a mark in the loss column for Dentsu—and stressing that Biegel had to provide more information to the judge. Now, Biegel met Thursday's deadline for providing additional information, and Adweek hasn't covered it at all, while Ad Age has. Maybe there's some reason I'm not seeing for Adweek not to make it a priority, I dunno. But if a publication is going to build a story aroiund a judge's request that a plaintiff provide more evidence for a case, you'd think it would be obligated to follow up when that plaintiff delivers said evidence.

7 comments:

Toad said...

Maybe Adweek is as confused as I am as to why this suit is continuing. I mean whatever Dentsu is paying Morgan Lewis & Bockius - a serious white show firm- has got to wind up being more than what they would have had to pay Biegel to make the lawsuit never happen in the first place. And that doesn't even factor in the damage to their reputation.

Truly puzzling.

HighJive said...

Well, Toad, the basic premise is that employers refuse to cave in to whining ex-employees. If Biegel wins, he’ll open a floodgate of lawsuits from everyone who’s ever been canned from an agency. The problem has to do with the law versus public perception. It was no different with Julie Roehm. As long as our industry continues to operate with subjective standards, and assholes are permitted to run things according to their whims, there will be little change. And there will be fewer lawsuits where fired employees succeed—including fired employees who are in protected classes facing actual discrimination.

That aside, responding to Catharine’s original head scratching, it’s not at all surprising that the coverage remains uneven and undedicated. The advertising press has traditionally been lazy in that regard. Or maybe perplexing is a more polite term. The reporters tend to take individual assignments/handle press releases versus being investigative journalists, IMHO. There were/are a few reporters who appear to be dedicated and smart, but across the board, it seems like a freelancer pool of individuals. It’s unlikely the typical Ad Age/Adweek reader could even name the reporters (there was a time when I could, but not anymore). In 2006, Ad Age dedicated a lot of coverage and reporters to the diversity issues involving the New York City Commission on Human Rights. But when it was time for the involved agencies to report their progress at the end of last year, there was zero coverage. Zero. Additionally, misreporting by Ad Age resulted in a PR nightmare for General Motors and its multicultural marketing at the end of last year. A number of accounts were under review, yet there has been zero news or follow-up on those events too. Those are only two topics that I’m personally aware of, but I’m certain there are scores of other stories left hanging by the ad press. Not sure it the issue is tied to lack of resources or mismanagement.

cjv said...

Catherine, I believe I know why Adweek failed to present the truth on Biegel's behalf. It's because they are biased, and have exposed their bias repeatedly during this process. The Adweek articles I have read seem to use negative connotations in reference to Biegel, and selectively put forth information that promotes a distorted perception that portrays Dentsu as the victim. Are they kidding me, or what? From what I understand, a respectable article presents both sides of the story by stating the facts, not by censoring information in an effort to mislead the public. I for one am insulted. As I teach media studies to high school students, I used Adweek's recent article as a fine example of what NOT to do in journalism. Adweek provided me with an unprofessional and highly disorted piece of writing which is now verified by other writers (thank you). As for the case, we'll all just have to wait and see what unfolds. I hope the justice is served. I'm not sure, however, where I can go to find out the "truth" about what happens with the case, but I know for sure it won't be Adweek...

Learned Hand said...

The Racing Form, the Box Score, The Stock Tables are the only unbiased examples of journalism, other than C-Span and Brian Lamb.
There is, I am told, a big difference between American and Japanese companies reactions to law suits and/or actions.
The American company wants to know what the law is, what the evidence is, what the venue is, who the judge is ("Don't tell me the law," Roy Cohn once said," Tell me who the judge is."), whether there is a jury, and how long the thing can be drawn out with no repercussions.
The Japanese company wants to know what it will cost them.
I am surprised, therefore, that it has come to be public and that no buy-off/settlement was arrived brokered.

HighJive said...

cjv,

Don’t know what you’ve been reading, dude. Ad Age has barely been able to keep a straight face in their reporting on Biegel and Dentsu. Add the blogs, and you’ll find very few “unbiased” sources in this case (and that includes Biegel’s own crew, who have posted their viewpoints). Besides, there probably is no “truth” in this sad scenario.

Anonymous said...

Handjive, I'm curious...what DO you call it when a journalist selectively withholds information from the public on behalf of one side of a lawsuit? If not "biased", then what? Oh right, you mentioned "Lazy press", and "perplexed press". Is that IT? Enlighten me, please.

HighJive said...

Gee, anonymous, are you some sort of Deep Throat in the Biegel v. Dentsu affair? Although the last thing this story needs is another pornographic reference. Why don’t you please enlighten us on the covert maneuverings you’re privy to.