In the last two days I noticed a couple of tweets alluding to something called “The Streisand Effect.” I wondered if this could be that warm sensation I feel when listening to Ms. Streisand’s mellifluous renditions of “People” or “On a Clear Day?” No! NYU”s Jay Rosen tweeted this:
Pugnacious political blog in Ohio goes up against Advance Media in a take down threat. http://t.co/5oWzKkbCmF A ‘Streisand effect’ classic.
â€” Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) November 4, 2014
Professor Rosen was referring to the public effort by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s new owners NEO Media Group to have a video of Ohio Governor John Kasich’sÂ flawed edit board meeting expunged from the Web. NEO’s public protestations only drew further attention to the video, which included both Gubernatorial candidates. Â
It poses the quintessential public relations dilemma: should you or shouldn’t you leave well enough alone? The Streisand Effect had its origins in the star’s very public efforts to quash published aerial photos of her Malibu home. Her effort produced the reverse effect, and The Streisand Effect moniker took hold. The other tweet I noticed came from Loren Feldman:
@benshapiro is not someone to mess with. At all. Lena Dunham has made a real tactical error. Streisand effect in effect.
â€” Loren Feldman (@1938loren) November 3, 2014
He of course was alluding to Lena Dunham’s full-throated “rage spiral” of an objection to the right wing media’s characterization of her as someone who sexually abused her sister. The allegation cameÂ from a squeamish passages in her much-ballyhooed new book. Even the liberal-minded Mediaite posted a piece supporting the heinous contention.
Of course, those with some modicum of experience toiling in the PR trenches always ask whether going public or threatening to sue, as is the case with both Ms. Dunham and NEO Media Group, will create an even bigger firestorm around an issue.
After all, the speed at which this morning’sÂ scandalous headline isÂ usurped by this afternoon’s, coupled with fragmented media consumption by a fickle public, make most crisesÂ dissipate on their own, i.e., little public posturing required.
As for Lena Dunham and Barbra Streisand pictured in the same post,Â well, that’s another story.