What Would Bill Do? Media Coach Bill McGowan Takes on the Week’s News


To end the week, another edition of our series in which Bill McGowanClarity Media Group founder and coach to execs from Facebook, Airbnb and more — weighs in on the week’s most controversial stories.

“Bad” Brand Chemistry

A real controversy “cooked” this week in south Florida when everyone’s favorite chemistry teacher-turned crystal meth maker, Walter White  (Breaking Bad) appeared on the shelves of Toys “R” Us in the form of an action figure.  Also for sale, the Jesse Pinkman doll, resplendent in his one-piece yellow drug-making jumpsuit. Jesse comes carrying two detachable bags: one full of money, one full of meth.  The Walt figurine simply wields a gun.  It’s not hard to imagine what kind of action these action figures are gearing up for.

Even though the dolls were sold in the adult section of Toys “R Us (adults shop there?) and marked as appropriate for ages 15 and up, you have to wonder whether  the toy store execs were partaking in Walt’s special recipe when they decided to green light this product.  Didn’t they know that an armada of angry moms would respond with all the subtlety of the Mexican cartel?

For their gross misjudgment, Toys “R” Us gets an utter fail.

Bryan Cranston gets style points for his funny Tweet reacting to the controversy, in which he jokes that he’s going to burn his Florida mom action figure in protest. And the ironic sound bite of the week goes to mom ringleader Susan Schrivjer of Fort Myers, Fla who said: “I just think that it’s wrong. Kids mimic their action figures.”  You’re right Susan.  I’d much prefer they engage in traditional good clean fun with a G.I. Joe sporting a lethal automatic weapon and a detachable 40-round magazine of ammo.  Great Tweet from Aaron Paul on much the same vein:

Touche, Jesse!

“Papa Bear” Mauls Rove

The Kansas City Royals weren’t the only ones to lose home-field advantage this week.  Karl Rove, once the revered conservative political mastermind, got roughed up in the studios of Fox News.

I guess the memory there is still fresh of Rove predicting a Mitt Romney win on election night 2012 after every major network (including Fox) had declared Obama the winner.  This week’s humiliation happened when Rove dared to enter the steel cage-wrestling ring known as the O’Reilly Factor with his predictions for the midterm elections.  “Papa Bear” (as Stephen Colbert calls Bill O’Reilly) pounced to administer a playful mauling when Rove, who was in Las Vegas, declared that he doesn’t gamble.

“With your prediction record, that’s a wise move,” O’Reilly joked.  Rove mustered an unconvincing smirk that devolved into a stone-cold stare in firing back, “Y’know that was personal and petty,” repeating for emphasis, “that was personal and petty.  How ironic that the message meister couldn’t defuse the situation by laughing it off.  Instead, his comeback dripped with all the immaturity of Dan Quayle’s impetuous response to Lloyd Bentson’s zinger-of-the-century, “you’re no Jack Kennedy.”  Perhaps now we know who advised Quayle to fire back with the overtly pouting line, “that was totally uncalled for Senator.”

Wassup with Wasilla?

If you thought Sarah Palin had monopolized the foot-in-mouth market in Wasilla Alaska, then you must have missed what Representative Don Young said this week.  The congressman was addressing students and administrators at Wasilla High School in the wake of a student’s suicide the previous week.

In a question and answer session, Young was asked what his office was doing to help curb teen suicides.  He alluded to the role that alcohol and depression play in the crisis, but then went on to insinuate that suicide shows a lack of support from friends and family and, in an even more tone-deaf follow-up, that receiving “government handouts” can lead to suicide.  I guess we can toss this one in the blame-the-victim file.

I would place Young’s chances of being to asked to be the guest commencement speaker between slim and none.