GLAAD, Roland Martin and CNN… What about TV One and Tom Joyner?

Roland Martin - Photo Courtesy of AP

We must admit, as a Twitter follower who occassionally interacts with Roland Martin (fellow National Association of Black Journalists – NABJ Member), the tweet by Roland did not surprise us.  His voice is one that is rarely silenced and one who is not afraid of a good debate. 

As we were watching a few of his tweets amongst others during the Super Bowl, the one called out the loudest was from GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  (Noticeably his comment to the men regarding the Super Bowl ad by Teleflora was overlooked, but not the one regarding David Beckham‘s ad. )

Roland is known for his large comments leaving all sorts of people upset.  Let’s face it.  It’s why CNN, TV One and Tom Joyner amongst others bring Martin to their outlets and venues.

Today’s blog isn’t to discuss the right or wrong of what was said, but to simply look at the various responses from a public relations, crisis communication and branding aspect.   Here is Above Promotions Company’s Clean up list for the parties involved.  Give us your opinion if we missed any.

  • Roland Martin:  An offensive tweet went out and joke or not, was not taken in the content for which his later statements suggested.  144 characters is not enough space to create an intelligent communication to criticism.  A longer more articulate one from the personal blog and linked in a tweet, would have been more suitable.  Admission to publicly vocalizing a dark comment which was intended as a joke.  Talk to GLAAD directly and immediately in regards to how discussions on violence against anyone in America is not one to encourage and is not encouraged. 
  • CNN:  Stand by the comment being made in an arena outside of their broadcast and their brand.  Reiterate how the network does not promote violence of any nature and will not do so through their employees.  Offer GLAAD a platform to discuss their personal agenda on air.  As the network cannot control the actions of on-air talent off-air, offer Martin classes on public engagement.  Remove the suspension.  From a branding standpoint, it is difficult to encourage freedom of speech and then knock your own employees down from doing such an act during their non-working hours.
  • GLAAD:  The statement was not made on the air with CNN.  Directing all campaigns to correct Roland’s behavior should be directed at him solely.  Freedom of speech right wrong or indifferent is an avenue where an organization who seeks to push their agenda through the media under freedom of speech must tread lightly.  The push to go to CNN and not the other minority outlets is one that has left many wondering the agenda of GLAAD.  From a branding standpoint, representing the overall community of those in the gay and lesbian lifestyle should be dictated to all outlets and not just one.  Also, recognizing how the organization can willingly make a difference in one individual’s response instead of attempting to force the hand of one individual, is more effective in the long run.  Hate in any form cannot be won by force.

In talking with many journalists and media professionals, TV One and the Tom Joyner Morning Show are doing right by remaining low key and not responding to questions.  This is especially noted as being a favorable position since GLAAD has not made a public declaration against those outlets. 

Whew!  And you thought it was going to be a regular Super Bowl football game!  Go Team Go!


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