|UC Davis tried to get stuff related to former UC Davis|
officer John Pike casually pepper spraying demonstrators
off the Internet. It just made everybody think about it
again, and Google it again, too.
It was a photo of a University of California/Davis cop casually pepper spraying a group of peaceful protesters.
He looked as if he was bored and decided to spray raid on the ants getting into the kitchen.
The whole thing as you can imagine caused an enormous uproar.
UC Davis tried to put it behind them, but of course this whole thing still comes up in a lot of internet searches.
UC Davis hates, hates the results of those internet searches. So, apparently never having heard of the Streisand Effect, UC Davis spent at least $175,000 hiring a company to help it scrub those internet searches that yielded stuff about that pepper spraying cop, reports the Sacramento Bee.
The Streisand Effect, which I've written about before and still can't believe PR people apparently never heard of, is when someone takes an action meant to quash news of an embarrassing or private thing, and that attempt at quashing the information does a fantastic job of calling attention to it.
The Streisand Effect is so named because the singer tried to suppress an online photographic record of homes along the California coast, including hers. When she did this, suddenly everybody who didn't give a damn about her house were seeking out photos of it.
She should have just kept her mouth shut. Or at least kept singing instead of worrying about photographs.
Similarly, the UC Davis effort to suppress internet searches of the pepper spraying cop backfired spectacularly. The whole thing is back in the forefront again.
"We wanted to promote and advance the important teaching, research and public service done by our students, faculty and staff, which is the core mission of our university", said UC Davis spokeswoman Dana Topousis, according to the Sacramento Bee.
That's some way to go about it! All I'm thinking now in relation to UC Davis is pepper spraying cop, pepper spraying cop..
As the Sacramento Bee reported, UC Davis is a public institution. How could they possibly think they could hide the fact they were trying to burnish their image by spending $175,000 on a consultant?
The Sacramento Bee obtained the information through a public records request under the California Public Records Act.
People and small businesses sometimes hire these online scrubbers if they've been unfairly maligned on the net and want to clean things up.
But a public university is quite another thing. UC Davis flunked PR 101.
"For a public university that is funded through taxpayer funds, who has repeatedly stepped into a vast hole, it is surprising that they thought this could be done without the light of day shining on the act.......It is one more example of how out of touch the leadership at UC Davis is when it comes to their public perspective," said Doug Elmets, a Sacramento public affairs consultant in the Sacramento Bee.
A lot of good this all did, too. When the Sacramento Bee broke this story on April 13, it said there were about 100,000 hits when they Googled "UC Davis pepper spray"
When I Googled "UC Davis pepper spray" yesterday,,April 21, just over a week after the Sacramento Bee article landed, I got 353,000 hits.
A lot of those hits I got were articles describing how UC Davis was apologizing for their latest screwup.
"In hindsight, we should have been more careful in reviewing some of the more unrealistic and ridiculous scope-of-work claims in the written proposals of our outside vendors," UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi said.