Friday, August 09, 2002

Barf Alert - Leave it to two of my least favorite organizations—the New York Times and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company—to conclude that the Fire Department of New York City could have done a better job in responding to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11. In an article dated August 3, the NYT reports that the FDNY's efforts were "plagued by problems in radio communication, lapses in discipline and a lack of coordinated efforts with the Police Department, according to a draft report by an independent consultant [McKinsey]."

At AT&T, Salomon Brothers and Wells Fargo, I’ve had the misfortune of working with a multitude of McKinsey consultants, and I know exactly what a McKinsey employee would have done that day had they been at the WTC. When the planes hit the building, the first thing a McKinsey consultant would have done is commandeer a taxi straight to Bergdorf Goodman, where he would buy a pair of Façonnable underwear to replace the shit-stained pair he was wearing. Then, the McKinsey consultant would check into the nearby Plaza Hotel and order room service, billing all to the client, of course. Finally, the ethically-challenged CEO-wannabe would have purchased a one-way ticket to Switzerland—where he either went to boarding school or received his MBA—and rested easier knowing that he wouldn't have to fight in any War on Terrorism

Perhaps feeling guilty about its latest hatchet job, the NYT reported on the very next day that a group of FDNY firemen actually made it to the 78th floor of the WTC’s South Tower, which was the second building hit by a hijacked plane—a truly incredible achievement. But the NYT had already shown its true colors by parroting the contents of the McKinsey report, thus casting their lot with their summer neighbors on Martha’s Vineyard.

As far as I am concerned, the reporters and consultants at these companies aren't fit to hold the jock straps of the brave firemen that served and died that day. These extraordinary men—all of them willing to risk their lives—walked into a blazing, 100-story skyscaper in order to save people they didn’t know, and now a group of pin-headed, PowerPoint-obsessed dweebs is telling the FDNY how to do its job. My advice to both McKinsey and the New York Times is the same as a famous headline once printed on the front page of the NY Daily News: "Drop Dead".


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