By letterhead | November 29, 2007
It was a hard call. Right at the end of the month, Karl Rove swooped in with a jaw-droppingly, gob-smackingly, stupendously enormous load of B.S. – letting loose with veritable torrent of lumpy smelly booboo, all over poor Charlie Rose. (Newsweek readers beware, you’re next!)
Rove, the poster boy for a rhetorical disease we can only call “Texas Trenchmouth,” opened his beastly maw and disgorged a hideous stinking lie – that Congress pushed HRH George W. Bush into attacking Iraq. As soon as he said it, as fully documented by PBS, a new circle of Hell was created to be his personal province.
So, Rove almost wins for B.S. of the Month. But when you really think about it, aren’t his most recent comments just a continuation of the one-big-long-lie that he has been telling for years? He’s been a near-constant diarrheal fount for his entire career, gurgling out enough bowel-pudding to fill Lee Atwater’s grave several million times over.
If he is barred from winning on a technicality, however, then it’s fitting that we pick a winner who takes a page directly from Rove’s playbook, though this winner is merely a pretender, a poseur, a wannabe. Where Rove’s doo-doo is often formidable in size and odiferousness, this one looks positively hamster-like – a farcical, beady little attempt at a momentous excretion.
To wit: earlier this month, “luxury home builder” Toll Bros. issued a statement wherein the CEO – one Robert I. Toll – blamed poor housing sales on…. THE MEDIA! That’s right. He tried to pull a Rovian “blame the media” trick out of his hindquarters.
It appears that Mr. $50 Million CEO has developed a bad case of Texas Trenchmouth of his own. He’s decided that the best way to face down a potentially global economic meltdown is to spit gobs of fecal froth onto horrified onlookers. The equivalent of a two-year-old messing in his diaper and then slinging it angrily a his mother.
And this, after she gave him such nice presents. Consider the quarter-billion dollar cashout. Yes, Mr. Toll cashed out $244 million in his company’s stock even as he was extolling the strength of the housing markets. (Much self-serving PR?) All totaled, his executive team cashed out $600 million in insider stock sales before the luxury-level share price got sucked down the imported Venetian marble commode.
And PR people wonder why our profession has such a bad reputation. Come on people! The facts were plain to see. Even CBS news got it right! And check out the hundreds and hundreds of clips compiled at Patrick.net – taken from newspapers all over the country, all year long in 2006, chronicling the housing debacle as it was unfolding. And folks… this is NOT prescience, it’s called being realistic. Seeing things for what they are as they are happening!
(For the most – alarming, hysterical, maddening, distressing – illustration of bad PR spin at work, check out Money Blue Book. They pair quotes from the Nat’l Assoc. of Realtors with the reality on the ground and the result is… well… a spectacular spectacle. See for yourself here.)
In 2006, as Mr. Toll was trying to keep the spin positive, reality had too much negative momentum for him to get away with it. And in hindsight is it any wonder? He was shoveling shit against a tidal wave of bad news that hasn’t even crested yet, and it’s now more than a year later. The scope of the crisis is staggering…
Since August 2006, the Fed has pumped $200 billion in emergency short-term credit into markets to keep them afloat
Even the EUROPEANS had to pump $150 billion into their markets!
Deutsche Bank is predicting $400 billion in credit losses on subprime borrowing
Goldman Sachs is postulating $2 trillion in credit contraction
The financial services sector is in meltdown with Citi, Merrill, Morgan, HSBC, and others losing tens of billions (with tens of billions more to go)
The dollar continues to hit new lows, but the Fed can’t defend the dollar and the economy at the same time
The smoking gun: at then end of 2006, the Fed was concerned about inflation and hinted that rates would remain flat throughout 2007 – oooops!!!
That strategy was chucked in short order when credit markets threatened wholesale collapse — the Fed cut rates twice in 2007 — they say no more cuts…. do you believe them?
Recession is looming… consumers are broke…. yadda yadda… blah blah blah
Here is the real truth (disaster?): homebuilders exploited cheap undocumented labor to put up shoddy houses in overbuilt areas; they sold the houses at inflated prices to people who could not afford them, using mortgage vehicles that were pretty much designed to blow up as soon as artificially low interest rates shot up, or prices started dropping, or the homeowner’s equity was chewed up by loans, or all three.
The housing market has gone bust. The chickens have come home to roost, and poop, on just about everyone. Mr. Toll, you got your quarter-billion, have the decency to be honest about the state of things. You can at least afford to be generous with that, can’t you?
So, Mr. Toll, here is your B.S. of the Month Award.
Shove a sock in it!
Either keep your mouth shut or say something credible. And whoever your PR person is… fire her. Karl Rove needs her back in Texas!