The Australian PR industry brought one of their most infamous Yankee practitioners to town thinking it would give them a much-needed lift. Sadly, Crikey’s PR guru saw right through it.

Ever since he was exposed in the US scandal sheet “Star” as a serial perpetrator of a unique political crime – bonking a hooker while conducting confidential chats on a speaker phone with the US President – Dickie has really made a name for himself. Like Monica Lewinsky, he is the personification of the new American dream, becoming rich and famous through infamy. As a person, Dickie is a classic case of Malcolm Muggeridge’s definition of a celebrity, someone who is famous for being famous.

A long-time advisor to Clinton since his murky Arkansas days, the scandal forced Dick to butt out of public life (temporarily of course) on the eve of Clinton’s nomination at the 1996 Democratic convention in Chicago.

In the curious life of this rolling slimeball, it could probably be said that he had one fleeting moment when he could have influenced world history for the good but, alas, true to his character, he blew it. The moment was on January 21, 1998, when the “Washington Post” revealed that Clinton had had a torrid affair with a White House intern and had pressured her to lie.

According to Bob Woodward’s book on the Clinton White House, “Shadow”, Morris left a message that day for the President, saying that he was available. Morris apparently warned Clinton not to get trapped in a lie like Nixon. He then offered to conduct a poll and that night and called Clinton to say his earlier advice had been wrong. He should lie! Clinton, he advised, can’t tell the truth, the public, according to the poll, would kill him. The public, he claimed, was concerned more about adultery than perjury.

Following this poll-based advice, Clinton moronically set himself on a course of persistent denial. He lied for months on TV and at prayer meetings – with his painfully unctuous little boy act, oozing sincerity – and at every conceivable opportunity. And then, finally, he was impeached. The only American president to go the full course in the impeachment process. A total disaster, all brought to you by the brilliant political mind of Dick Morris.

Dick’s own image is shit and he hugely contributed to Clinton’s self-destructive personality by cheerfully pushing him over the edge. Clinton’s remarkable survival owes almost everything to the good fortune of presiding during the country’s most sustained period of economic growth and prosperity and, of course, the ghastly deterioration of American public life, reflected most obviously in the vulgarisation of American television (brought to you by former Aussie moralist, the Dirty Digger, Dick’s present employer at Fox TV). As it turned out, the American public will these days forgive absolutely anything, as long as they are making money.

In those still significant pockets of civility where the old American values survive, tricky Billy’s reputation is shit too. Indeed, it’s questionable whether he will even be able to get a job when he leaves office in a few months time. Sure, Steven Speilberg’s Dreamworks might provide a berth but only, one would think, as a silent partner. But then he could probably make himself curator of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, seeing as the provision of such a library, at huge expense to the public purse, is now guaranteed by legislation.

The old American dream had Jimmie Stewart going to Washington to fight the good fight for the little guy. The new American dream has Dickhead Morris flying first-class into Melbourne on a fat fee and speaking to the members of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. This is most apt. For surely if there was ever a one man PR disaster it is Dick Morris, a genuine phoney who rats on everyone and then reinvents himself as the self-styled Thomas Jefferson of Cyberspace and suckers the local PR mob in the process.

At a Public Relations Institute luncheon in Melbourne, appropriately held at the incredibly vulgar Crown Casino, Dick big-noted himself and unwittingly revealed his inner self – a perpetually smiling witless worm of a man. The local congregation of flak-catchers, spin-meisters and radio announcers however thought it was great stuff. Which all says volumns about the local PR industry.

Besides some corny and remarkably unfunny “insider” jokes – which I gather he repeated at every other meeting he had in Australia (which tells you that not only he is witless jerk, he has no imagination either) – his performance was banal in the extreme and hardly worth the rich fee (about $100 a head).

No doubt the biggest suckers of the day were the people at the local PR firm with the pretentious and somewhat redundant name, Stratcom Communique, who put up the big dosh to pay this vacuous creep to strut about dispensing bad advice and peddling an extremely dubious business which promises to replicate on the Net the charm and fascination of instant tabloid polls (a form of “political karaoke”, to use his own description).

The MD of Stratcom Communique, a man with the deliciously appropriate name of Cock (reputedly a “hand-on” operator), praised “Dick” to the heavens in his summing up and, in the process, unwittingly revealed himself and his ilk as little more than wanking partners of this roaming, endlessly flattered but truly unspeakable visiting Dickhead. Lord save us.


Editor’s note: Crikey, people know I hate the PR industry but this contributor is really giving it to them. Don’t blame me, blame him/her.

PRs should send their howls of outrage to [email protected] and we’ll happily publish them.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.