Families are in mourning, stockholders are jittery, members of Congress are angry, and there’s no end in sight.
The faulty Firestone tire debacle, it seems, is depressing all the way aroundexcept to local public-relations professionals, whose moods have been elevated by a relieved and giddy sense of “there-but-for-the-grace-of-God.”
“People around here have been in great spirits all week,” one local flack said Friday. “Everybody I talk to says the same thing: ‘My job may suck, but thank God I’m not working for Firestone.’ ”
In the past few weeks, the Nashville-based tire companypart of Japanese tire giant Bridgestone/Firestonehas suffered not only a massive recall of allegedly deadly, blowout-prone tires, but it’s also had rancorous public disputes with its own labor force, its best corporate customer (Ford), and an angry panel of lawmakers at congressional hearings.
“I thought I was stuck with a lousy job a few years ago when I was flacking for Shoney’s,” said one local PR woman who didn’t want her name used. “But I look back on that as a walk in the park beside this. Those poor PR people at Firestone,” she added with a broad smile.
At several public-relations firms over the past week, flacks reportedly amused themselves by phoning in anonymousand falseFirestone tips to local news organizations.
“Let’s see, we told [Channel 4’s] Francene Cucinello that Nashville International was banning landings from planes with Firestone tires,” one PR pro said with a sinister snicker. “That was a good one.” Then we gave [Channel 5’s] Phil Williams a bum steer that all Metro school buses use Firestone tires, and I hear Williams had [Metro schools spokesman] Craig Owensby sweating all day. We’ve had a blast.”
Reports indicate that the good mood at PR offices also extended to tire stores around Nashville.
“We’re working our butts off,” the manager of a local Goodyear store said. “But at least we don’t work for Firestone.”
Why the concern for this Berry College? Is this some great Constitutional crises within
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