November 18th, 2008 → 11:13 am @ Seth Mnookin
Yesterday afternoon I got a call from someone at Bloomberg LP. Considering the December Vanity Fair features my 6,000-word story on Bloomberg News‘s founding, its recent management changes, and the fact that it’s just about the only news organization on the planet that seems to be making any money these days, there were any number of people I could reasonably have expected to hear from.
The message I actually did receive left me speechless. An exact transcription follows:
Hi Seth, [name] calling from Bloomberg. I just wanted to give you a quick call, I was actually forwarded your information from one of my colleagues and I definitely understand you’ve been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair for some time and provided a lot of insight on Dan Brown’s book and a lot of details that events that have occurred at The New York Times, but the reason that I’m calling is that we’ve actually been reaching out to a lot of public relations firms showing them the great tools that we have on Bloomberg to scan for news content relating to Vanity Fair or of course its peers as well so I definitely want to reach out to you and see if you were possibly interested in taking a look Bloomberg. I’ve met with a lot of other publishing firms also, AMI [American Media, Inc. - publisher of The National Enquirer, Flex, and Fit Pregnancy] being one of them, and thought that you as in, as a PR representative at Vanity Fair would definitely benefit from a lot of tools that are on Bloomberg also, so definitely feel free to give me a call and I will follow up with you. Again my direct again is 212-xxx-xxxx, and again we’d be more than happy to stop by and provide you with a little demonstration of all the news functionalities that are available. Again, [name] calling from Bloomberg.
That is truly a work of art. It would have ranked among the dumbest one-minute sales pitches ever recorded even without the conflation of “contributing editor” and “PR representative,” the comparison of Vanity Fair to American Media, or the reference to The Da Vinci Code as “Dan Brown’s book.” And to think that thousands of media professionals have lost their jobs in the past month alone. Sigh.