On June 5, 2005, a young woman’s dog pooped onboard the Metropolitan Subway, Line 2, near Ahyun Station, Seoul, South Korea.
She was embarrassed and was offered a tissue by a fellow passenger. She cleaned her dog with it but was chastised by passengers later for refusing to do the same for the mess on the floor – before hastily disembarking.
By then, a passenger named Miss Kim had taken her photo with a mobilephone and soon the posting went viral online.
The meme “dog poop girl”, “dog s**t girl” or 개똥녀 (gae-ttong-nyue) took a life of its own. An online all-points bulletin alert and the firestorm of criticism resulted in identification of her, her relatives, her place of work and apparently her eventually quitting.
As documented by Jonathan Zittrain in ‘The Future of the Internet’: “The summed outrage of many unrelated people viewing a disembodied video may be disproportionate to whatever social norm or law is violated within that video. Lives can be ruined after momentary wrongs, even if merely misdemeanors.”
The case brings to mind several other related incidents well-documented by popular sites such as Know Your Meme and Wikipedia including: Bus Uncle (Hong Kong), Christopher Lao (Philippines), Anton Casey (Singapore) and Sharifah Zohra Jabeen (Listen, listen, listen) (Malaysia).
Each case differs in the degree of the wrong-doing but the backlash of harassment, hate vitriol, ridiculing parodies, even death threats online were common to all.
In a hyper-cammed, super-amped Internet world, an online mob can quickly become judge, jury and executioner. What you say or do in a public space, online or otherwise, can and will be used against you.
Bus Uncle’s infamy may have even resulted in him being beaten up by masked men, Christopher Lao suffered a mental breakdown, Anton Casey lost his job and fled the country, and Sharifah Zohra says she feared for the safety of her family and children.
By all accounts, none of the actions of the five individuals that became online media targets are defensible.
Dog poop girl’s refusal to clean up, Bus Uncle’s profanity-laced tirade, Christopher Lao’s “whiny, obnoxious” interview, Anton Casey’s condescending tweets and Sharifah Zohra’s disparaging inanities all made us uncomfortable when measured against mature, civil society norms.
We were angry, mad even. But, sadly, their bad behaviours incensed some of us enough to get on moral high-horses and bombard them with derision and death threats – reflecting our own bad behaviours online. Yes they were all wrong and deserved a reprimand but who died and made some of us infallible gods online? (I shudder to think of the early part of my 50 years of living if a particular moment had been filmed, documented and posted online. How would I have reacted if an intensely-scrutinized single mistake became the defining moment of my entire character, career or life? How would you? )
As a young journalist, I was always worried of writing a story that would result in sources or the subjects of the story losing their rice bowls — or even their lives. Was the story more important than the resulting fallout? Would the uncertified engineers I pointed out lose their jobs? Would the undocumented immigrants I reported on be forced to return to the destitution of their home country? Would the passerby “hero” who came to the rescue of the family in a murder case be later victimized by the assailants? I was never able to reconcile that part of my job by the cliched refrain “I’m just doing my job.”
As media professionals and a community, our actions or inaction can result in a profound impact on society at large. The cliché is worth repeating: freedom of expression does come with great responsibility. If we are to mature as a society, then we have an obligation to speak up and point out what’s right, and what’s wrong — online as well as offline. We already live in both worlds, whether we like it or not.
In my old age, as a media trainer, I try to provoke my participants into embracing all things Internet. But also, I encourage them to think of the long term implications of everything they do online that is archived in that cloud of posterity. Every post, every comment, every tweet, every photo and every video defines who you are to some future Internet archivist.
The Internet is a messy space and we have a responsibility, nay, an obligation, to bring some level of maturity of discourse in it. Just like the rest of the world. Allowing only the trolls and anonymously nasty to fill this precious resource with hate would be sad.
Everyone of us relishes our privacy to some extent, but that shouldn’t be the one thing that holds you back from sharing all the value you can add to the conversation. In fact, you should be in it because you care enough to effect the changes you want to see online.
If this knowledge freezes you, makes you stick your head in the sand and stay offline from any social network, then you have chosen to disengage with the very society you are a part of. And that’s a true loss for everyone.
(The caveat: I know for some it can be hard. A woman who was the victim of an abusive marriage told me she could never go online for fear her ex would trace her every move. “Be yourself” is easy to say — but being yourself in a hyper-documented, super-shareable world calls for real gonads for some. )
So, did the five “victims” survive their 15 minutes of online infamy? Bus Uncle apparently asked to be paid for media interviews and tried to organize a “Bus Uncle Rave” which never happened. No word on Dog Poop Girl, Anton Casey or the Listen, Listen, Listen lady, who are quietly fading away, perhaps to their own relief, into the obscurity they came from.
Christopher Lao, in a 2012 report, finally returned to university to complete his Bar exam, become a lawyer and an advocate against cyberbullying.
In the interview he says:
“The level of bullying that I experienced can affect anyone’s confidence. I was always crying every day and I feared that I could not move on and could not fulfill my duties as a parent, even.”
Lao says his perspective changed, however, when he started to “detach” himself from material comforts and stopped giving excessive value to his reputation. “Reputation is very limiting because it boxes us. We are scared of failure because (of this). I was no longer afraid of failure…I was done with reputation, I was done with that,” said Lao, who went under medication due to the cyber-bullying he endured.
“I asked myself, ‘Why am I not gonna take this Bar? Only because people might again derive joy from my potential failure?’ I’m done with that. They’ve said whatever they want. I just said, ‘It’s time to do things that will make my loved ones proud, myself proud, the Lord proud. I figured that I was able to wake up every day because I felt that I was worth something.”
- Internet trolls really are horrible people
- A tale of defeat, resolve and all-out war against bullying
In crisis communications, we tell our clients that if they have to apologize – do it quickly and sincerely and suggest specifically the remedial action you will take.
This advice, however, gets lost when a crisis hits. The human thing to do is take things personally, get caught up with heated emotions, be in denial, try to deflect and play the blame game.
When the sh*t hits the fan, we have heard CEOs and public figures explode and wonder how such “terrible things” could happen on their watch.
David Letterman seemed calm and was his usual deprecating self when he told his audience his “little story” of “terrible things” on Oct 2, 2009.
He claimed he was the victim of an alleged US$2m extortion bid by someone, later named to be Robert ‘Joe’ Halderman, an Emmy-winning producer of CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery.
Apparently Halderman was going to write a screenplay and a book exposing him for “creepy stuff” he did. Dave then told the audience this: “And the creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is -’Yes, I have.’ ” That statement was met with laughter and applause.
He then went on to say: “I have had sex with women who work on this show. And would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would. Perhaps it would. Especially for the women.” Again more laughter and applause.
Halderman was arrested after allegedly trying to cash a fake cheque made out to him and has since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On Oct 5, Dave continued to use the show, now with an obvious rise in ratings, to paint himself as “the victim” and try to deflect the odd confession he made:
As I suggested in a previous post, by talking about his previous indiscretions, Letterman immediately made every woman in his employ, currently and previously, fair game for the media.
His disclosure definitely warranted the apology to his staff and his “horribly hurt” wife.
But here’s the blunder in the statement that comes at 1:00 into the vid: “I’m not having sex with these women – those episodes are in the past.”
Sorry, Dave, that sounds like a flip-flop to me. You are sorry for mentioning the “creepy stuff” but you are not sorry for doing it, and now even deny having done anything wrong.
Letterman seems to suggest this: “Having sex with interns, subordinates and women who rely on you for their pay cheques, bonuses, raises and positions, is okay, as long as it was a LONG TIME ago, and no one complained about it publicly.” To underline it, he says at the tail-end that “I still feel I did the right thing.”
To me, that just seems like a 62-year-old man trying to wiggle out of past indiscretions, without being accountable for his actions. Shades of Roman Polanski and Bill Clinton come to mind.
CBS’ rules and guidelines on the conduct of its employees TMZ.com points out may not apply to Letterman because he isn’t in their employ. He merely heads Worldwide Pants Inc, the production company which produces the show for CBS, and also The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and previously, Everyone Loves Raymond.
I think as apologies go, Letterman comes across as sincere and genuine. But by repeating his indiscretions on camera, he’s digging a deeper and deeper grave on his image.
By throwing wisecracks such as “This is only phase one of the scandal. Phase two: Next week I go on ‘Oprah’ and sob”, Letterman seems to be capitalizing on the scandal. He continues to feed the flames, daring the media to find out more, while profiting from the revelations with a higher ratings boost.
Wrong move, Dave. You need to suspend the show, take a vacation, save your marriage, and stop speaking out in any platform for awhile.
Here’s Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz’s take on the unfolding crisis:
“Dave this is creepy stuff, even for me.”
As a fan of David Letterman, I enjoy his brand of humour, his intelligence and interviewing skills.
But I fear the crisis he is now mired in, and the strategy with which he has chosen to address it, will likely end his career.
Here are the facts so far:
On his show on Thursday, Oct 1, Letterman said he was the victim of a US$2 million blackmail attempt over charges of sexual affairs with staff members, claims that he conceded were true. The alleged perpetrator, later revealed to be CBS producer Robert Halderman, was arrested in a sting. Letterman said he testified to the affairs in front of a grand jury.
In any crisis, a quick and truthful admission of guilt is sometimes the best and only solution. All the better to make the revelation when you have all the facts in hand and are willing to acknowledge and accept your mistakes, and then apologize to the aggrieved and suggest your remedial action.
If any public figure or CEO of a company were to make the revelation that he had slept with members of his staff, for any reason, and despite it being consensual, the right thing to do is then to call a press conference, offer his suspension from duties and save the company and stakeholders at large further embarrassment, until the crisis was over.
But by using the show, instead of press conference, to candidly admit the “terrible things” and “creepy stuff” he did, Letterman has opened himself to being ridiculed for hypocrisy and attempting to bump up ratings, and, therefore, profit from this unfolding fiasco.
During the show, Letterman said “Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would – especially for the women.” “I feel like I need to protect these people — I need to certainly protect my family.”
Although he seemed genuine, Letterman was certainly mistaken that “these people” were his first concern. If anything, Letterman’s only concern was for himself. Otherwise, he would have suspended the show and taken a leave of absence and mitigated an already bad situation.
All the women still in his employ are now fair game. The media scrutiny and spotlight that Letterman has opened them to may likely destroy their careers.
As the crisis unfolds – with more salacious revelations coming forth – the public and his many celebrity guests will likely be divided on this issue but the fact remains Letterman may never be viewed the same way again.
The backlash to CBS, as long as Letterman remains on air, will be devastating. Which leads us to the sad, and inevitable countdown.
Top 10 reasons why David Letterman will be fired:
10.Halderman will counter sue, allege harassment from Dave and say the extortion story was a cover-up.
9. Halderman’s surrogates will leak copies of Dave’s ‘terrible things’ to TMZ.com
8. One or more women, currently or formerly from CBS, will sue CBS, Letterman and his production company.
7. Right-wingers that haven’t forgiven Dave for his Sarah Palin put-downs will likely organize advertiser boycotts and post high moral ground, holier-than-thou op-eds screaming ‘hypocrisy’.
6. More workplace harassment and sexual trysts allegations at CBS, NBC, ABC and various cable stations will continue to feed the media frenzy for months to come.
5. Several planted guests will attack Dave with lemon meringue pies.
4. A sex tape of Dave and several interns in the Green Room will emerge.
3. Celebrity guest Madonna or Drew Barrymore will offer to have sex with Dave on air and he will oblige.
2. Dave will break down in front of his mum on air and confess to being a “bad boy”.
1. Dave will shave his head, don a kurta, convert to Hinduism, join an ashram and rename the show The Late Celibate Show.
Shout out to Neil Gibbons, editor of UK-based Communicate Magazine, for the use of my comments on countering Internet rumours in an article entitled, “Ugly rumours” in their most recent issue.
“In the digital age, a reputation that has taken years to build can be destroyed in seconds – by anyone,” says Julian Matthews of international media training consultancy Trinetizen. “Rumours can spread via the internet like wildfire. And what’s scary is that anyone can have an impact on your brand. An especially motivated, persistent and vindictive individual can be a nightmare.”
“Official tweeters on corporate Twitter accounts already help to manage the discussion of Zappos, Honda, Dell, Comcast and Southwest Airlines. “They do a great job addressing potential crises in real-time,” says Matthews.”
Some valid points brought up in the piece:
1. PERMANENT SECTION: Internet rumours spread quickly and can linger long after you have addressed it officially – if necessary, have a permanent section on your website addressing the issue.
2. TOUGH CALL: Lawyer Simon Smith, partner at Schillings, said: “If you don’t act it may be perceived as a tacit admission, if you do respond it can give credence to the rumour and validation to those spreading it. It is a difficult decision.”
3. MONITOR NOW: Watching should be a company’s first line of defence: it can only manage rumour if it knows what’s being said. “Every rumour that pops up should be considered a credible threat in the first instance,” says Peter Roberts, senior associate director of Hill & Knowlton Issues & Crisis.
4. PLAN YOUR TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT NOW: Paul Miller of media intelligence firm Cision says: “If it’s just low-level, respond to the user and ask for a retraction… if the rumour is being mentioned by top bloggers or the mainstream media, I’d advise putting something on the corporate website.”
5.ENGAGE CONSTITUENTS NOW: Certain brands are fortunate enough to have a loyal, sometimes evangelical, online following. By engaging with these advocates, a company can have much of its work done for it. A rebuttal from a loyal customer may carry more weight than a company spokesperson.
6. BE PRO-ACTIVE OR YOU MIGHT FAN THE FIRE: Roberts says: “The biggest pitfall is inflaming an issue. The risks will be things like perpetuating an issue that would otherwise have died away all on its own; and bringing legitimacy to the rumour by giving it your brand’s credibility in a response. The ideal approach is to be an active participant in online conversations, both listening and engaging. The better you know the environment in which you’re operating, the easier it is to manage, and the less likely it will be that an issue will take you by complete surprise.”
My complete reply to Mr Gibbons:
In our experience, as media trainers and consultants, we find many companies underestimate the damage an email, blog post, photo or video can do to their corporate reputations.
Some companies have crisis management plans tucked away in a drawer somewhere which have not been updated in three years or more.
These plans possibly do not include the crisis communications plan as a subset, nor do they incorporate responding via online communications as a crucial channel.
We have seen in the famous cases of Wendy’s (finger in bowl of chilli), Kryptonite (bike locks easily opened with ballpoint pens), Dell (exploding notebooks due to faulty lithium ion batteries) and Tommy Hilfiger (false racist statements attributed to the founder apparently said on the Oprah show) that speed is of the essence.
The fact is in the digital age, a reputation that has taken years to build can be destroyed in seconds — by anyone. Rumours of a corporate impropriety or an incriminating video of a faulty product can spread via the Internet like wildfire. It can cause serious damage to corporate reputations and substantially reduce shareholder value.
We always tell clients: “If it’s good news get it out fast, if it’s bad news get it out faster.” The caveat here is to have your facts in order when you decide to face the media or respond to the rumour. Most companies can’t react quickly enough. They feign ignorance of new media when outed, suggesting lack of resources or time.
In our training, we emphasize that companies have to get pro-active in their approach to online reputation management.
They have to employ online tracking tools and dashboards to track every mention of their brand, products and services in blogs, social networks, photo- and video-sharing sites and Twitter.
They must have a long term strategy in place to engage with “online constituents”. These may be your customers, prospects, partners, suppliers, stakeholders or whatever term you may want to use for the 1.5 billion people online.
What’s scary, and I can empathize with many corporations on this, is that anyone can have an impact on your brand.
An especially motivated, persistent and vindictive individual can be a nightmare.
With an online rumour, it’s a four-way problem: One, it is difficult to identify source. Two, you can’t tell how widespread it is. Three, if you choose to ignore, it may go viral later. Four, if you choose to fight it, it may attract even more negative attention than it deserves.
The worst rumours are those that are partly true. People are likelier to believe that where there is smoke, there is fire. An all-encompassing denial may seem insincere, fan the flames and amplify the rumour rather than kill it. In every case, it’s always better to stick to the truth.
My advice is if it is an email or blog post, go to the source and engage the person. If there are factual errors or inaccuracies, point it out as a representative of the company. If you are at fault, use the 4As method: accept, acknowledge, apologize and act. Whatever the rumour, do not take it personally, even if it is a personal attack!
You will find it is often the case that once the aggrieved person is officially acknowledged and a solution provided, he or she will likely be accepting of the remedial action. The person may be even blog positively about it, which is the ideal outcome.
Rumours that are persistent and longterm need to be addressed with a consistently updated page, a blog, mini-site or a complete separate site.
The Coca-Cola Company has addressed persistent rumours on its Coca-Cola Facts and Myths section of its website. Barack Obama used FightTheSmears.com to tackle the many rumours during his presidential campaign. Lionel Menchaca, the chief blogger of Dell Inc, was the first to acknowledge the fiery notebook issue when it blew up on the net.
Corporations, who care about their reputations, need to test the waters. They need to start listening and engaging with people online, it’s a skill that can only be honed through trial and error. It requires learning a new language, less of the corporatespeak and legalese that bog down real communication.
They may begin with at least one channel, a blog, a Twitter account, or Facebook page, to encourage conversations, to listen and gauge what their constituents are saying. They have to start getting their feet wet soon before the swirling tide starts to rise around them.
Psychology Today Nov/Dec issue has a great piece about rumours: The 8½ Laws of Rumor Spread by Taylor Clark and an accompanying solutions sidebar: When the Rumor Hits Home – What to do if you find yourself the subject of a rumor by Jay Dixit.
Clark cites an impressive panel of rumour experts including Barbara and David Mikkelson of hoax-busting site snopes.com, Martin Bourgeois, a rumour researcher at Florida Gulf Coast University, Nicholas DiFonzo of Rochester Institute of Technology, sociologist Duncan Watts, Chip Heath, Stanford business professor and co-author of Made To Stick, and Ohio University psychologist Mark Pezzo.
Her 8.5 rules:
1. Successful rumours needle our anxieties and emotions.
Example rumour: When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, water wasn’t the only thing that flooded the city. Grim rumours flourished: Sharks have infested the water! Terrorists planted bombs in the levees! Murdered babies and piles of corpses filled the Superdome!
2: Rumours stick if they’re somewhat surprising but still fit with our existing biases.
Eg rumour: President George W. Bush supposed quote: “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur.’” Fits in with belief that Bush is a klutz.
3: Easily swayed people are more important than influential people in passing on a rumour.
Kids, like some adults, are credulous, and credulous people make rumours go. Eg rumour: Bubble Yum was made with spider eggs.
4: The more you hear a rumour, the more you’ll buy it — even if you’re hearing that it’s false. Eg rumour: Barack Obama is secretly a radical Muslim who refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance and was sworn into the Senate on the Qur’an. Repeating a rumour, or even hearing its denial repeatedly, makes people believe it comes from a credible source.
5: Rumours reflect the zeitgeist.
Rumours have the greatest chance of multiplying when the topic is current. Eg rumour: When you flash your brights at an oncoming vehicle without its lights on, you might be inviting a gang member to kill you. It’s always in mid-Sept when the rumour surfaces. Headlights are on people’s minds. That’s why you never hear it in the dead of winter or the height of summer.
6: Sticky rumours are simple and concrete.
Vivid details stick in the mind. Eg rumours: We only use 10 percent of our brains. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space. People swallow eight spiders a year in their sleep.
7: Rumours that last are difficult to disprove. Eg: Loch Ness monster. Reason: It’s a big lake.
8: We are eager to believe bad things about people we envy.
Celebs are easy targets and we are eager to believe the worst to prick the bubble of adulation around them.
8.5: Sometimes, there is no “why”.
Often, we tell remarkable tales to build relationships or show off our yarn-spinning prowess — not necessarily because we think they’re true.
Clark’s rules borrow heavily from Chip and Dan Heath’s book “Made To Stick”, which I recently got my hands on. They postulate that ideas that stick must be Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and turned into a great Story. (In short and cornily S.U.C.C.E.S.s)
(Photo credit: Brian Watters)
Dixit’s sidebar quotes DiFonzo on some solutions:
1. DON’T LIE. If the rumour is true, don’t try to deny it. If people are motivated, they’ll figure out the facts.
2. DENY THE RUMOUR IF IT’S FALSE. “A denial still raises questions in people’s minds, but properly done, it helps inoculate people against believing a false rumour.”
3. USE A TRUSTED NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY TO REFUTE THE RUMOUR. “When Proctor & Gamble had a terrible time with false rumours alleging they were Satanists, they recruited Christian religious leaders to help refute the rumour.”
4. PROVIDE A POINT-BY-POINT REFUTATION. The more specific and concrete you are, the more likely it is your refutation will be believed and remembered.
5. PROVIDE A CONTEXT FOR WHY YOU’RE REFUTING IN THE FIRST PLACE. Don’t just deny a rumour in a vacuum, saying, “Bob Talbert is not a member of the mafia,” “I am not a crook,” or “My products are safe.” People will wonder why you’re saying this and may conclude you’re trying to cover something up.
Better to do as Barack Obama did and explain, “You may have recently heard right-wing smears questioning Obama’s Christian faith. These assertions are completely false and designed to play into the worst kind of stereotypes. The truth is that Barack Obama is a committed and active Christian.” By explaining why he was refuting the rumours, Obama provided a context that made his denial more believable.
Additionally, I would suggest some rules of my own on the use of social media in fighting rumours:
1. KEEP EMPLOYEES INFORMED: Your staff may be the prime source of a damaging rumour. Keep them informed either through your internal blog or wiki. Do a one-to-one if you have to.
3.CULTIVATE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE MEDIA: When a rumour is about to break, sometimes the only thing that can prevent it going viral is your credibility with news editors. Work on those relationships, so they count when it matters. Otherwise…
4.BE PREPARED: Have planned responses ready. A well-written holding statement released quickly can turn the tide to your side right from the start.
From the Obama campaign’s FightTheSmears.com to Coca-Cola’s Facts and Myths page, it is becoming increasingly clear that an always-on online presence is necessary to fight against rumour mongers, disgruntled ex-employees, speculators and brand terrorists.
The new front in reputation management is online. Corporations, institutions political parties, celebrities and non-profits need to get streetsmart in social media skills fast or find themselves easy targets for the smear artists.
The only defence seems to be pro-active vigilance and, if needed, a rumour-fighting, hoax-killing, myth-shattering website of your own. The faster you get your message out – accurately and with a credible voice, the better to protect your rep online.
Marty Weintraub has 8 ways toput up a defence on the search engine optimization front at the aimClear blog.
1. PAGERANK: Evaluate the authority of the page on which the negative content is published. Take a look at PageRank and inbound links profile using Yahoo Site Explorer.
2.GO LEGAL: If search results violate copyright or trademark laws, fire the first salvo through your law firm with a cease and desist order. (Be a realist though. Some insolent jerk halfway around the world won’t give a rat’s ass about your attorney’s saber rattling.)
3.WATCH OUT FOR VIRAL BACKFIRE: My grandmother says never to “get into a pissing contest with a skunk. Even if you win…you stink.” Build your content to outrank the perpetrator’s.
4.CALL IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a business person, who has no experience in social media, climb into a comments thread and make things SO much worse. If you’re not a regular contributer in a specific social media channel, learning the vernacular while under duress is not the best choice.
5.ENGAGE: Start with classic high road messages of respect and understanding: “I understand your position,” “respect your right to express your feelings in public,” “am grateful for the opportunity to engage in a dialog” and “what can we do to make things right?”
6.NUKE ‘EM: There are non-white hat methods available to ‘eliminate’ the problem.
7.CONSIDER PAID SEARCH: This is short-term “lesser of all evils” option.
8.DITCH FLASH: One of our newer clients came to us under assault from a disgruntled former customer. Our client’s website was entirely a Flash movie, literally with no deep indexing. Solving the “crises” was as simple as re-publishing the site in HTML with Flash elements instead of a full Flash movie.
Numair Faraz, personal adviser to Motorola CMO Geoffrey Frost, gives an insider view in a letter to engadget.com on Frost’s untimely death, his wife’s suicide, former CEO Ed Zander’s extravagances, including a fleet of private jets and US$30m golden parachute, and the ineptitude of current CEO Greg Brown who insists all his emails be printed by his secretary and replied to by dictation.
Numair to Brown:
…instead of merely being inept, you’re actually actively killing the company. Your lack of understanding of the consumer side of Motorola doesn’t give you a valid reason for selling the handset business; moreover, publicly disclosing your explorations of such a move, in an attempt to keep Carl Icahn off your back, shows how much you value the safety of your incompetence.
You clearly have no interest in fighting the good fight and attempting to mold Motorola into the market leader it can and should be.