August 3, 2016 Last Updated 8:24 am

The media has a screw loose says the media critic for Fox News; Saatchi chairman resigns over gender diversity comments

Morning Brief: Time Warner, tronc and RR Donnelley report earnings today as earnings season finally winds down, digital native companies outperforming traditional media

The week is not even half over and already it feels like the longest week imaginable. What to expect today? God, help us, Trump has two campaign events scheduled, who knows what the man will say at them.

Emirates-400While we wait for more madness, though, we have the earnings report coming this afternoon from tronc, formerly known by the less insane name Tribune Publishing. That one promises to be interesting.

But you know the day will not be a good one when it starts with an airplane blowing up on a runway. An Emirates Boeing 777 crash landed at Dubai International Airport, then blew-up. The good news is that the 300 people on board survived.

It was not a good start to a day that promises more madness.

It has been an odd week for the Murdoch media empire.

First Murdoch’s NYC tabloid runs nude pictures of Melania Trump in a move that seemed to be an effort to get the rest of the world to forget about recent comments by Donald Trump, then Fox News has a meltdown accusing other networks of not covering the speech of Patty Smith, mother of a soldier killed in the Benghazi attack, live – when in fact only Fox News didn’t carry it live.

Is Rupert Murdoch helping or undermining the Trump campaign?

Enter Howard Kurtz, the media critic at Fox News.

He said this morning that it is not the candidate that has a screw loose but the media. Yep, the media critic for Fox News says the media are the crazy ones. Trump, he’s just running for president.

OK, sure.

(But seriously, it must be terribly hard to carry water for Murdoch. That Kurtz may have been forced, or worse, volunteered, to make this argument is sad, humiliating.)


That was fast:

Kevin Roberts will resign as chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi following gender diversity comments he made that were, well, not appropriate for the head of a major advertising agency.

If this story is new to you, here is the background: Roberts gave an interview to Business Insider where he seemed to belittle the work of an industry colleague, then made comments that seemed to infer that women in the industry were less ambitious when it comes to attaining management positions, and that gender equality had already been achieved in the ad business.

“We have a bunch of talented, creative females, but they reach a certain point in their careers … 10 years of experience, when we are ready to make them a creative director of a big piece of business, and I think we fail in two out of three of those choices because the executive involved said: ‘I don’t want to manage a piece of business and people, I want to keep doing the work’,” Robert said in the interview.

The parent company of Saatchi, Publicis immediately issued a statement condemning Roberts comments and placed Roberts on leave.

“Following the comments made by Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Chairman and Publicis Groupe Head Coach, Kevin Roberts, in a recent interview with Business Insider, Publicis Groupe Chairman & CEO, Maurice Lévy addressed a statement internally to all Publicis Groupe employees to reiterate the Groupe’s no-tolerance policy towards behavior or commentary counter to the spirit of Publicis Groupe and its celebration of difference as captured in the motto Viva la Difference!” the statement read.

Today, Publicis announced that Roberts had resigned – or moved up his retirement date, effectively the same thing.

“‘Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Learn Fast’ is a leadership maxim I advocate,” Roberts said in a statement released to several media outlets. “When discussing with Business Insider evolving career priorities and new ways of work/life integration, I failed exceptionally fast. My miscommunication on a number of points has caused upset and offense, and for this I am sorry.”

This was a story that broke late last week and here we are on Wednesday and it is all but over (Roberts resignation is effective September 1). How different this all feels compared to the saga of the Republican nominee for president who seems to be able to say nearly anything – yesterday he even yelled at a baby – and still few in his party will retract their endorsement. Why the difference? It’s business.

No ad agency can attract clients if the head of the firm is seen as in some way demeaning to women in business. It is a sign, if one were needed, that the world of US politics is no longer the real world, but something quite outside the norm.

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