A muppet, that’s what a PR professional is to Aftonbladet’s Head of Insults, sorry, Head of Information, Olof Brundin. There is currently a kerfuffle about an interview with Bill Gates done by Norwegian journalist Bjørn Benkow on a plane between London and Munich. The following article was published in both Mann in Norway and in Aftonbladet in Sweden. Only problem is that the interview apparently is faked. After Microsoft’s Corporate Communications Manager Eirik Lae Solberg made sure the interview never happened he contacted Mann, who then apologized. But Aftonbladet, the paper that thinks “bloggers have completely different demands for truth than we do”, considers the article to be true because Benkow insists the interview is bona fide (no, really?).
– [Benkow] confirms that it all went down as he wrote in the article. If some press muppet (pressmupp) in Oslo says anything else then it is his word against the other, and I can only relate to what the reporter have told me as long as Bill Gates himself doesn’t call and says otherwise, Brundin said.
Yeah, that’s going to happen. “Well, hello mister Brundin, this is William H. Gates calling. I just sneaked out of a board meeting to have a chat with you.”
Anyway, Brundin continues to say that “if anything turns out to be wrong, we will apologize immedeately”. Except, it seems that Aftonbladet are the judges as to what is wrong and not. Later today Dagens Nyheter publishes a new article where the Swedish PR contact Johan Furestad says:
– We have called Bill Gates’ office and can conclude that [the interview] never happened. Turns out that Gates didn’t even fly a scheduled flight between these cities at that time.
Was that enough for Aftonbladet to apologize? Of course not. So, who’s the press muppet now?
UPDATE: It’s not easy being green, it’s not easy being at Aftonbladet. The muppet won, Aftonbladet apologized for the faked Gates interview.