Colbert’s Racist?

Diving into controversial, political topics is the main point of Stephen Colbert’s job, but a Tweet that an account from Comedy Central’s Twitter (@StephenColbertReport) had sent out recently got him into some hot water with social media.

The Tweet by the account was as follows: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

This Tweet was immediately taken down once the firestorm hit. Many Twitter users were complaining about Colbert’s blatant racism, and even started a hashtag called #CancelColbert.

To get a better glimpse as to why the account Tweeted this in the first place, it is important to look into some background information. On Wednesday night’s show, one of the segments highlighted Dan Snyder, the Washington Redskins’ owner. He created the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation to retaliate against the controversial team name. The Tweet was making a joke in light of that particular segment.

Apparently Colbert’s Twitter followers do not watch the Stephen Colbert show itself, or else they might have understood the context of the Tweet. Although it was written in typical “Colbert” manner, the Tweet was actually meant to be against what the public is accusing the man of: racism. Plus, the account in question, although verified with the check mark and all, is not run by Colbert.

It has recently been discovered that the Stephen Colbert Report is not even run by Stephen Colbert himself (his Twitter name is @StephenAtHome). The Twitter account run by Comedy Central sent out a couple of clarifying Tweets, stating that the account is in no way affiliated with Colbert and his show.

With no context to go along with the Tweet, a public relations crisis fell right into Colbert’s hands. Although the Tweet has since been deleted, Twitter users took a screenshot of the Tweet. So naturally, it is still virally making its way across every corner of the Internet.

Public relations catastrophe at its finest.

With Stephen Colbert actually Tweeting from his own account (in humourous manner of course), the wildfire of controversy ceased: but only so much. The Tweet is still out there, people will not do their research and look for themselves if the account is actually run by Colbert (the check mark is enough, right?) and Colbert is now labeled as racist. The hashtag #CancelColbert has been going strong all day on all platforms of social media (I see the hashtag trend on the side every time I log into my Facebook account).

As a public relations student, I would have to say Colbert suffered a bit of a blow with this social media trouble. I believe the best way to calm people down and clarify information has already been done: The Comedy Central account Tweeted and said they were not affiliated with the show or Colbert. Colbert spoke on his own Twitter. The only thing left to do is simply to make a tasteful joke about it on the next show.



Good Uses of Social Media

Social media is a huge business innovation that public relations practitioners should consider to further build their brand, client or company. Let’s face it, the two entities are fusing together. With social media, it is easier to create conversational topics to customers, introduce discussions and receive constructive feedback (or nasty feedback). These channels of potential communication between company and public can be used through different sectors of a social media site such as Facebook message, Tweets or blog comments on your company’s website. I decided to create this blog post regarding the ever-evolving world of social media and its practical uses for practitioners, because let’s face it, social media ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

We all know and love Facebook. It’s a grade up from Myspace and allows users to post their own statuses, post pictures and videos, and message their friends. As social and unprofessional as it may sound, companies can gain a lot of coverage and publicity through this site. Professional companies can even create their own page through a Facebook account. Through this page, you can schedule posts, view your activity log and view analytics of your page.  Posting statuses regarding special offers from your company, a chance to win tickets to your client’s concert or any overall promotions you want people to know about can be posted right to your page with easy access to your consumers. Photos can also be posted (via Instagram if you want that fancy filter) so consumers are also getting a visual aspect that is always visually rewarding… Photographs speak 1,000 words after all.

Twitter is basically a condensed form of Facebook’s statuses. Limited to only 140 characters a Tweet, it is important for the company to realize this, and think thoroughly of a condensed message that will be understandable to your public. It is a great site to also post photos, ReTweet your clients or follow relevant people.
Side note: Don’t lose your company’s dignity by messaging every new follower with a generic “Thank you for following! Please go to our website at to learn more information!”

This site is a great place for… you guessed it… videos. If your company wants to create content such as “How-Tos” or “DIY (Do It Yourself)” tutorials, it might be better to create videos in order to make it easier for your consumer to comprehend with visuals instead of reading a long list. It also can present great opportunities for other potential stakeholders that are new to your organization, brand or company to be aware of, and possibly gain more overall publicity.

All in all, it is important to stay engaged with your social media sites. It does no good leaving your sites dead for a week or even a couple days with little to no activity. It is also important to not only be active, but create posts that make conversation. Your messages should be open to questions from your customers, and always facilitate a good environment for both your client and the public you are trying to attract.