Palmer admits to shooting and killing Cecil the lion. Last week it was reported that he tried to bribe hunting guides several years ago in Northern Wisconsin so they would cover up an illegal bear hunt. There’s a picture of the doc with the dead bear. The UK Mirror and other well-trafficked websites in the U.S. and around the world posted the photos.
“Vilified by animal welfare activists and the target of vitriol in social media,” is how the Minneapolis Star Tribune sees Palmer.
The way I see it: The 55-year-old Minnesota dentist needs serious public relations help as he remains in hiding and out of the public eye.
Yet according to an online survey by PR Week, nearly 9 out of 10 PR people won’t touch him or the case. PR Week asked readers whether they’d “rep the dentist who killed Cecil the lion” and the overwhelming majority of those who answered said they’d turn him away.
“The PR community has been in universal agreement that this crosses an ethical line,” the magazine reports. “Many believe no amount of PR can fix the damage caused by Palmer’s own actions.”
If you ask my opinion, I say that’s absurd. How does representation of Dr. Palmer cross ethical lines? He doesn’t deserve help to rebuilt his reputation and protect whatever shreds are left of it? And no amount of PR can help?
Are you kidding me?
I believe strongly in my craft. Nearly every crisis manager in my industry wants to run from Dr. Palmer, yet my gut is to run toward him. I’m either really amazing or slightly whacked. (Just to be clear: I’m humbly going with amazing.)
Like a defense attorney who is hired to represent a client in the courtroom, I represent clients in the court of public opinion. And right now I believe Dr. Palmer needs help. And deserves that help. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Or do we, as an industry, take the position, yes that’s what it’s about, but only when it isn’t controversial.
People are innocent until proven otherwise. And in my experience, there are usually multiple sides to any story. In crisis management situations, we’ve represented Rod Blagojevich since his waning days as Illinois governor. And we still rep him. We were involved in the Drew Peterson case in Illinois and Casey Anthony in Orlando. We have no issues with controversial.
When people’s reputations are at stake, I believe they deserve vigorous representation. It’s bad enough Nancy Grace and other pundits are passing judgement without due process. As a PR industry we need to stand up. If not for cases like Dr. Palmer, what are we around for?
As a crisis manager, your job is to bring order to chaos and to make sure clients get a fair shake in the court of public opinion. In Palmer’s situation, he and his world are crumbling; he’s clearly taking a huge hit financially; his reputation is beyond gutter-low; and he is getting destroyed daily in the media. The hunter has indeed become the hunted.
He’s Exhibit A of why crisis management exists. Yet nearly nine of 10 PR practitioners won’t get involved.
This man deserves a competent and honorable PR counselor as much as he deserves a lawyer if the case goes to court.]]>
“Over the last several years I’ve made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Foundation,” Stephanopoulos said. “Those donations were a matter of public record but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the foundation.
“I now believe that direct and personal donations to that foundation was a mistake. Even though I made them to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.”
The assessment from pundits, columnists and other armchair news analysts has been harsh and unforgiving:
From Michael Goodwin of the New York Post:
My, my, the bigger they are, the dumber they think we are.
Dan Rather of CBS was toppled by a phony document scam. Lyin’ Brian Williams at NBC casually mixed fact with self-aggrandizing fiction. Now George Stephanopoulos is caught in a Clinton web of deceit at ABC.
The hat trick of arrogant anchor scandals helps explain why Americans don’t trust network news. With apologies to Walter Cronkite, that’s the way it is, and the way it is stinks.
From Fox News:
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos may have tarnished his reputation for good after failing to disclose his ties to the Clinton Foundation while reporting on the foundation.
“This was a mistake and I’m not sure he’s going to be able to recover from it any time soon,” Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Here’s my thought. This situation is a full-blown PR crisis for both Stephanopoulos as well as ABC News.
For Stephanopoulos, in less than a New York minute, he unraveled the news achievements that took him years to build. He had managed to climb his way to a top position at ABC News, covering news and politics. That’s quite an achievement for anyone; even more impressive given his former job as a political advisor to President Clinton. He transitioned almost seamlessly from political operative to newsman. Now this.
The fact that he contributed money to the Clinton Foundation is not a huge deal here. Sure, it was a mistake. But then tons of media companies also contributed lots of money to the Clinton Foundation. The problematic issue here is the fact that he failed to disclose the contributions while doing stories on the Clinton Foundation and what contributors received or expected to receive when giving the money. He was part of the story and he was covering the story and he failed to disclose that conflict of interest. That’s conflict of interest 101.
It is absolutely stunning that he withheld such relevant information.
Why didn’t Stephanopoulos say, during those interviews: “I contributed money to the Clinton Foundation. So did NBC Universal, News Corporation, Turner Broadcasting, Thomson Reuters and a dozen media organizations and I know I didn’t expect anything and I am sure neither did they. We did it to help the Foundation do its great work…”
He could’ve gone on: “Of course now I wish I hadn’t given any money. Then I wouldn’t have had to talk about my own person contributions…”
Stephanopoulos knew he had inadvertently become part of the story but didn’t want to man up. Did he just figure he would never get caught?
It was a lie by omission. It cuts to the heart of trust. Can such a lapse in judgment be easily forgotten by viewers… by Republicans?
Publicly, ABC News is standing behind their former political operative turned star anchor.
But it’s difficult to believe that behind the scenes, Stephanopoulos isn’t getting berated by network brasses. Remember, at first NBC News stood by Brian Williams in the early days of his scandal.
I’m not convinced that ABC News can just let this one go with just a simple apology from George Stephanopoulos. This was a HUGE transgression and ABC News has a brand to protect. And that brand is much bigger than just one anchor.]]>
Before the movie was released, some Hollywood insiders predicted an Oscar snub because of the subject matter of ‘American Sniper’… that it wouldn’t appeal to left-leaning Academy voters.
Fox News contacted me after the nominations were announced and I said that timing of this movie aligned perfectly with world events to produce a nomination.
“Any other year it may not have been politically correct to support a movie like this,” I said to Fox News. “But given these crazy times, it may seem un-American not to. Americans want to believe that good will triumph over evil and this movie exemplifies that.”
‘American Sniper’ completely topped expectations at the box office this weekend. And the reviews from the public have been wildly supportive of the war movie.
With that as a backdrop, Michael Moore took to Twitter.
“My uncle killed by sniper in WW2,” Moore tweeted. “We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015
The backlash began. Moore tweeted again to clarify his position.
But if you’re on the roof of your home defending it from invaders who’ve come 7K miles, you are not a sniper, u are brave, u are a neighbor. — Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 19, 2015
And then he took to Facebook where he wasn’t limited to 140 characters.
“Lots of talk about snipers this weekend (the holiday weekend of a great man, killed by a sniper), so I thought I’d weigh in with what I was raised to believe about snipers.
“Deadline Hollywood and the Hollywood Reporter turned that into stories about how I don’t like Clint Eastwood’s new film, “American Sniper.” I didn’t say a word about “American Sniper” in my tweets.”
The movie depicts good versus evil. The American sniper is fighting the evil in this world. And if you’ve picked up the paper or watched the news lately, you know that we’re living in a scary world with the evils of terrorism more in our face than ever before.
Any other time in history, perhaps, more people might agree with Moore. The social context of this movie comes at a time that we embrace snipers like the American sniper depicted in this movie because we need people like him to survive. The world is so uncertain and people like him keep us all safe.
The issue has little to do with whether Michael Moore was criticizing the movie, as Moore sees it. It has everything to do with criticizing the American sniper, which he did, because he criticized all snipers and called them cowards. He says doesn’t like any snipers, apparently that includes the ones working on the side of the good guys.
The pushback from the public came because they see his comments as un-American.
The same reason that the movie was nominated and has a chance of winning (because besides being a well-made movie usually politics plays into the Academy Awards) is because of the backdrop that this movie is playing in. A world filled with terrorism and terrorism, beheadings, bombings and lots of uncertainty with a significant number of people believing that this evil must be eradicated in any way possible–including the use of snipers.
Thought it dramatizes events a half a world away, the movie hits close to home for lots of people. All of us are living in this petrifying, uncertain world and we are thrilled that people like the American sniper are doing what they have to do to keep us all safe. And the public just doesn’t want to hear differently from anyone–including Michael Moore. Sometimes it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself.]]>
Not surprising, really. It was a status update from a celebrity opening up about what some might consider his kinky sex life.
The confession was from Jian Ghomeshi, the once uber popular CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) host of “Q.”
Jian Ghomeshi is adept at asking questions that trigger celebrities to open up. But up until now, he never talked publicly about his private life, particularly his sex life.
But Jian Ghomeshi, 47, did just that Sunday night in a Facebook post.
What prompted it? He had just been axed by the CBC and the show he co-created.
“I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer,” he said in the Facebook post.
“I have always been interested in a variety of activities in the bedroom but I only participate in sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners.
“About two years ago I started seeing a woman in her late 20s. Our relationship was affectionate, casual and passionate. We saw each other on and off over the period of a year and began engaging in adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission. We discussed our interests at length before engaging in rough sex (forms of BDSM). We talked about using safe words and regularly checked in with each other about our comfort levels. She encouraged our role-play and often was the initiator. We joked about our relations being like a mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey or a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year. I don’t wish to get into any more detail because it is truly not anyone’s business what two consenting adults do. I have never discussed my private life before. Sexual preferences are a human right.”
Wow, that’s a lot of information!
Elissa Freeman, a writer and PR consultant in Toronto, thought that the Facebook message was “expertly crafted” and believes a crisis management firm was behind it.
In an article published on the Vancouver Sun, she writes:
Using phrases such as “false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer” – casts the spectre of doubt over the validity of his accusers’ actions. Highly charged words such as “smear,” “harassment,” “vengeance” and “demonization” are meant to portray him as the victim not the transgressor.
Most importantly, the letter takes care not disparage his former employer – only the actions they have taken.
And finally, this: “I have lost my job based on a campaign of vengeance. Two weeks after the death of my beautiful father I have been fired from the CBC because of what I do in my private life.”
This is the ultimate pull for sympathy and hope we will disregard any disparaging articles we may read in the future.
By going all-in like he did, she called this move by Jian Ghomeshi the “ultimate PR strategy” which she described as the ‘David Letterman’ offensive.
Letterman had affairs with staffers and he was being extorted. Rather than wait for the story to get out, Letterman went straight to the public. During his monologue he got very serious and confessed to the audience that he had done wrong and turned the situation around, salvaging his reputation.
I agree that some of what Jian Ghomeshi did smacks of similarities with David Letterman.
And I do believe that his Facebook message was an attempt to get ahead of the story.
But what Jian Ghomeshi did came TOO LATE! If you believe what he wrote in his Facebook post, he knew for weeks that the smear campaign by the ex-girlfriend had begun. The time to have posted this Facebook message was BEFORE he got fired from his job. Not after.
He waited too long.
Had he done the Facebook post then, then I would agree that he would have gotten ahead of the story.
He, in fact, failed to get in front of the story. He was way behind the 8 ball. He is reacting to the news.
If you know something is bound to become public, it is usually best to get the information out early and in your own way.
Had Jian Ghomeshi truly gotten ahead of the story, perhaps he still would have his job with the CBC and avoided the fallout.
In this case the only thing that Jian Ghomeshi got out first was the dirty details. And that is not good enough.
Jian Ghomeshi, former CBC host’s Facebook message in full:
I am writing today because I want you to be the first to know some news.
This has been the hardest time of my life. I am reeling from the loss of my father. I am in deep personal pain and worried about my mom. And now my world has been rocked by so much more.
Today, I was fired from the CBC.
For almost 8 years I have been the host of a show I co-created on CBC called Q. It has been my pride and joy. My fantastic team on Q are super-talented and have helped build something beautiful.
I have always operated on the principle of doing my best to maintain a dignity and a commitment to openness and truth, both on and off the air. I have conducted major interviews, supported Canadian talent, and spoken out loudly in my audio essays about ideas, issues, and my love for this country. All of that is available for anyone to hear or watch. I have known, of course, that not everyone always agrees with my opinions or my style, but I’ve never been anything but honest. I have doggedly defended the CBC and embraced public broadcasting. This is a brand I’ve been honoured to help grow.
All this has now changed.
Today I was fired from the company where I’ve been working for almost 14 years – stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues. I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision. But I am not going to do that. Because that would be untrue. Because I’ve been fired. And because I’ve done nothing wrong.
I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.
As friends and family of mine, you are owed the truth.
I have commenced legal proceedings against the CBC, what’s important to me is that you know what happened and why.
Forgive me if what follows may be shocking to some.
I have always been interested in a variety of activities in the bedroom but I only participate in sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners.
About two years ago I started seeing a woman in her late 20s. Our relationship was affectionate, casual and passionate. We saw each other on and off over the period of a year and began engaging in adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission. We discussed our interests at length before engaging in rough sex (forms of BDSM). We talked about using safe words and regularly checked in with each other about our comfort levels. She encouraged our role-play and often was the initiator. We joked about our relations being like a mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey or a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year. I don’t wish to get into any more detail because it is truly not anyone’s business what two consenting adults do. I have never discussed my private life before. Sexual preferences are a human right.
Despite a strong connection between us it became clear to me that our on-and-off dating was unlikely to grow into a larger relationship and I ended things in the beginning of this year. She was upset by this and sent me messages indicating her disappointment that I would not commit to more, and her anger that I was seeing others.
After this, in the early spring there began a campaign of harassment, vengeance and demonization against me that would lead to months of anxiety.
It came to light that a woman had begun anonymously reaching out to people that I had dated (via Facebook) to tell them she had been a victim of abusive relations with me. In other words, someone was reframing what had been an ongoing consensual relationship as something nefarious. I learned – through one of my friends who got in contact with this person – that someone had rifled through my phone on one occasion and taken down the names of any woman I had seemed to have been dating in recent years. This person had begun methodically contacting them to try to build a story against me. Increasingly, female friends and ex-girlfriends of mine told me about these attempts to smear me.
Someone also began colluding with a freelance writer who was known not to be a fan of mine and, together, they set out to try to find corroborators to build a case to defame me. She found some sympathetic ears by painting herself as a victim and turned this into a campaign. The writer boldly started contacting my friends, acquaintances and even work colleagues – all of whom came to me to tell me this was happening and all of whom recognized it as a trumped up way to attack me and undermine my reputation. Everyone contacted would ask the same question, if I had engaged in non-consensual behavior why was the place to address this the media?
The writer tried to peddle the story and, at one point, a major Canadian media publication did due diligence but never printed a story. One assumes they recognized these attempts to recast my sexual behaviour were fabrications. Still, the spectre of mud being flung onto the Internet where online outrage can demonize someone before facts can refute false allegations has been what I’ve had to live with.
And this leads us to today and this moment. I’ve lived with the threat that this stuff would be thrown out there to defame me. And I would sue. But it would do the reputational damage to me it was intended to do (the ex has even tried to contact me to say that she now wishes to refute any of these categorically untrue allegations). But with me bringing it to light, in the coming days you will prospectively hear about how I engage in all kinds of unsavoury aggressive acts in the bedroom. And the implication may be made that this happens non-consensually. And that will be a lie. But it will be salacious gossip in a world driven by a hunger for “scandal”. And there will be those who choose to believe it and to hate me or to laugh at me. And there will be an attempt to pile on. And there will be the claim that there are a few women involved (those who colluded with my ex) in an attempt to show a “pattern of behaviour”. And it will be based in lies but damage will be done. But I am telling you this story in the hopes that the truth will, finally, conquer all.
I have been open with the CBC about this since these categorically untrue allegations ramped up. I have never believed it was anyone’s business what I do in my private affairs but I wanted my bosses to be aware that this attempt to smear me was out there. CBC has been part of the team of friends and lawyers assembled to deal with this for months. On Thursday I voluntarily showed evidence that everything I have done has been consensual. I did this in good faith and because I know, as I have always known, that I have nothing to hide. This when the CBC decided to fire me.
CBC execs confirmed that the information provided showed that there was consent. In fact, they later said to me and my team that there is no question in their minds that there has always been consent. They said they’re not concerned about the legal side. But then they said that this type of sexual behavior was unbecoming of a prominent host on the CBC. They said that I was being dismissed for “the risk of the perception that may come from a story that could come out.” To recap, I am being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life.
Let me be the first to say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others. We all have our secret life. But that is my private life. That is my personal life. And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life.
And so, with no formal allegations, no formal complaints, no complaints, not one, to the HR department at the CBC (they told us they’d done a thorough check and were satisfied), and no charges, I have lost my job based on a campaign of vengeance. Two weeks after the death of my beautiful father I have been fired from the CBC because of what I do in my private life.
I have loved the CBC. The Q team are the best group of people in the land. My colleagues and producers and on-air talent at the CBC are unparalleled in being some of the best in the business. I have always tried to be a good soldier and do a good job for my country. I am still in shock. But I am telling this story to you so the truth is heard. And to bring an end to the nightmare.]]>
Gov. Rick Scott, Republican, is running for a second term against Charlie Crist, a Democrat who used to be a Republican and is the former governor.
Yep, it’s an interesting race.
Anyway, plot thickened today when on duty police officers who were not working the event showed up for a campaign stop for Scott.
According to a report in the Naples News: “At least a half-dozen on-duty law officers in uniform took part in a re-election event for Gov. Rick Scott in Tampa despite Florida laws saying public employees must avoid political activity during working hours.
“Spokesmen for two of the agencies involved, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, said their officers’ attendance at an event Monday resulted from a misunderstanding; they thought they were invited either to provide security or that it was an official governor’s office event.”
But to complicate things for the Sheriff’s Office: Sheriff David Gee is a Republican.
It’s a big uh-oh all around.
Besides looking really bad, except for elected officials, it’s against the law because employees “of the state or any political subdivision may not participate in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.”
I think we can assume that Scott’s camp was thrilled as the optics for the governor were great with all those law enforcement there as cameras taped and snapped away; Crist’s camp no so much as this mishap is clearly unfair.
And I am guess that we will also see this footage turn up in campaign ads about how the governor is a ‘friend of law enforcement.’
According to media reports, both the state Division of Elections and the Ethics Commission on Elections Commission, would not comment on how the law applies to this situation or what, if anything, would happen.
Given that elections happen all the time and the governor’s race is at least every four years, these agencies should have a policy in place to make sure a screw up like this doesn’t happen again.
Oh, and by the way, that may not be a bad thing for the agencies to mention–that in light of this unfortunate event they have such a policy now and they’ve learned their lesson!
Let’s see what happens.
Monica Lewinsky is out with an essay published exclusively in Vanity Fair magazine in which she writes about her affair with President Clinton.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” she writes. “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
The writing is clear. The writing is crisp. And she does an excellent job taking ownership of what happened and reflecting to the public that she gets the scope, the significance and accepts it for what it is.
The article is not vengeful. It does not seem politically motivated. It seems very honest, real and good-hearted.
From what I’ve read, you walk away actually liking her.
I work with clients who are misunderstood or mischaracterized. And when you meet them and talk to them, you leave with a totally different impression.
It’s hard to convey that in a normal TV or magazine interview. Especially if you are put on the defensive.
But that is what this article was able to accomplish: Because of the messaging and the tone.
This was just beautifully done.
Lewinsky is now 40. She very grown up. No longer the White House intern.
She writes in Vanity Fair, “I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)”
The writing I am certain was heavily edited as you might expect with an esteemed publication like Vanity Fair.
Monica Lewinsky may be smart and educated. But writing an article at this level just doesn’t happen. I suspect these were her thoughts and ideas, but the editors made it come alive. (Spoiler alert: It’s really no different than an editorial that runs a newspaper. Those are often heavily edited too.) I am absolutely okay with that.
About the affair, Monica Lewinsky blames no one, including the President. She says it was a relationship between two consenting adults. Lewinsky writes: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
She acts so grown up in this essay. She absolutely owns up and takes responsibility. She is not feeling sorry for herself. It is about empowerment. There’s also no whining or complaining. She comes across as someone who has learned a lot in 40 years and has amazing perspective.
The article is brilliant. Rather than running and hiding, Monica Lewinsky so takes ownership, embracing the past and turning it into something she can own.
When this scandal broke, the media and everyone who watched it dehumanized her. No one could possibly relate to that Monica Lewinsky. The ordeal was so far beyond normal.
But this Monica Lewinsky revealed in this essay is a different story. This essay made her relatable. It made herself real.
Suddenly women can now say, “Wow, there’s someone who took a bad experience and is turning it around.” They might be saying: ‘She is in control of her life and I like that about her.’ She’s likeable.
All I can say is great, great, great for Monica Lewinsky.
A lot of time has passed since that scandal and maybe everyone is finally ready to give her a break–just like they would want people to give them.
Hey, I’d love to know your take on this. Please weigh in in the comments section or on social media!]]>
Would the numbers climb because of the controversy, stay about the same, or take a hit?
Well, the season premiere of ‘Duck Dynasty’ aired Sunday night at 10 p.m. This morning we’re learning that those numbers took a HUGE hit.
According to The Huffington Post, TV Line reports that 8.5 million people tuned in for the fifth season premiere of “Duck Dynasty” on Wednesday (Jan. 15). That is down from 12 million viewers who watched the fourth season premiere.
In the coveted demographic of 18-49, 4.2 million tuned in.
Some shows would kill for numbers like that.
But the numbers reflect a 30% drop. And clearly execs at A&E are reeling this morning. Their highest performing show, along with all of its lucrative merchandizing, are now in jeopardy.
So let’s analyze a little bit.
This all began with statements Phil Robertson made to GQ magazine in an article entitled “What the Duck?”
A devout Christian, Robertson created a you-know-what storm when asked by GQ what he considered to be sinful, and he said: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
He also said a few other things that some might say were equally as bad–if not worse.
A&E, perhaps in a misguided effort to get ahead of what could become a backlash against the network, suspended Phil Robertson and condemned his remarks.
Almost immediately, A&E got hit by those on the right who agreed with Robertson and from those who may or may not have agree but believed that Robertson had the right to express himself.
Threats of boycotts began. The Robertson family insinuated they may walk if the patriarch of the Robertson family were tossed off the show.
A Change.org petition in support of Robertson surfaced and received more than 118,000 signatures.
Phil Robertson didn’t say a word. No apology or anything.
The network reinstated Robertson, amended its position and said Robertson had every right to express himself even if the network did not agree with what he said.
Fox News quotes a source inside A&E saying this ordeal has been awful. “Several high-ranking executives have expressed upset over the way this all played out. The network execs think that in allowing Phil to come back so quickly and seamlessly, without apology, sets a bad standard,” the source told Fox News. “The standard being that talent can say whatever offensive thing they want about gay people or other groups and get away with it. No consequences.”
When “Duck Dynasty” was about to premiere for the season, pundits suggested the controversy could help ratings. And boy was there a lot of media coverage promoting the premiere.
But those pundits were wrong.
What must be going on today in the C-Suite of A&E.
In retrospect, the network made a bad situation even worse.
When companies take a position, they must make sure it is one they can live with.
Clearly in this case, the network jumped the gun with a statement that they clearly did not completely think through all the possible the ramifications.
They should have known that suspending Robertson could be seen as disingenuous as the show is taped so many months in advance. And that some people may agree with him or believe he has a right to speak.
The fact that Robertson made the comments in a magazine and not on their airwaves is significant should have factored into their decision-making process.
My guess is A&E was trying to take a position that might help the story die out in a few days, then down the road they would take Robertson off suspension and the show would go on.
Nothing about crisis management in public relations is easy.
What we all can learn from this is sometimes you need to take a breath and analyze the reaction before staking a position. You can’t make a decision without first having all the information.
Sometimes the chips need to the fall before you can pick them up, because the chips may fall differently than you anticipate.
And in this case, I don’t think that A&E had the information it needed when the network took its position.
My opinion is that the statements made by Robertson and the networks reaction and subsequent corrections are to blame for the ratings slide. What do you think?]]>
Every day brings another apology. The apologies usually punctuate a rant at City Hall where he declares his innocence and suggests the he is the victim and the world keeps attacking him.
Of course his assessment of reality might be somewhat clouded by drugs, after all he has admitted to using illegal drugs. And it isn’t like he’s acting rationally. Let’s be honest: He’s acting like someone who’s using and abusing.
Now there are accusations of binge drinking and solicitation of prostitution on City Hall property. He denies it but it seems like almost no one believes him.
Though he apologizes, time and time again he comes across as insincere and forced–coming only because he has done something or said something and has no choice.
The public believes that he should stop apologizing and instead just stop doing it.
The news headlines today:
CNN: Is it the end for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
CTV News: Toronto council to debate motions to strip Mayor Rob Ford of his powers
USA Today: Toronto mayor ‘sorry’ for crude remark, seeks help
There has yet to be contrition from Mayor Rob Ford. So the apologies always seem empty.
Does anyone even believe he’s sorry?
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sounds like the booze addicted husband who abuses his wife who apologizes the next day when he sobers up. (And no, I am not suggesting he abuses his wife. I said he sounds like.)
None of this is good if you are the mayor of Canada’s largest city who is trying to move forward and get the public on your side.
Mayor Rob Ford had a shot at keeping his job and moving forward had he shown contrition and then retreated when this PR crisis first began.
But he did not.
He tried to order it to go away. He actually believed that simply admitting that he took drugs and declaring he doesn’t have a substance abuse problem the whole thing would just go away.
At this point, because of how he’s acted since the crisis started, it seems Mayor Rob Ford needs a miracle to keep his post.
Proves the point that it is usually not the crime, the substance abuse or the mistake that does a politician in; it’s how you deal with the public relations crisis. The ones who deal well, survive more often than not.
Unfortunately for him, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has dealt with it about as badly as anyone could.
So what now? Mayor Rob Ford should be thinking about his legacy. He should disappear for a bit and let the situation come down to a simmer. He should go get help and then assess when he can think clearly.]]>
The Food Network dropped her and her four shows.
Facebook and Twitter are going nuts with people opining–both for and against Paula Deen.
Here’s how I see it.
Paula Deen’s biggest problem in the short term will be with retailers, e-tailers and anyone else who has a business venture with her. Those businesses will feel the pressure on their own brands to drop Paula Deen. The question will be how much can they stomach?
Paula Deen’s restaurants and stores this weekend were filled. That is indicative that many in the the public still support her and want to see her succeed. Will the companies in business with her be willing to feel the heat until the situation settles down?
I think it’s a good idea for companies in business with her to wait and see how this plays out or they risk feeling the wrath that The Food Network is feeling. Many are critical of the network for firing the celebrity icon.
The reality is this: None of us knows yet exactly what she said and how bad it is. When we do hear, how will the public react to it? It’s probably a bad idea to pull the plug before you know it’s necessary. Most of the public at least supports waiting until you hear her out or find out what the deal really is.
Paula Deen admitted using the n-word during the deposition. Let’s remember she answered honestly. She didn’t lie.
Now, she’ll have a chance to make her case in an interview Wednesday with Matt Lauer on TODAY, that she’s not a racist and she’s being honest.
Paula Deen’s challenge is to convince people that she is absolutely not a racist and the Paula Deen they have come to know and adore is the same Paula Deen, but just maybe not as infallible or perfect; that she has made some mistakes. But she is not a bigot or a racist—never was and isn’t now.
I would not say that Paul Deen is done as some have predicted. However, I think if this situation continues to be handled poorly by her and her team, it does threaten to deliver a fatal blow. The allegations speak to character. If people start to believe she’s a racist or a bigot, most people will stop buying her name and it will destroy her brand.]]>
The station posted the following message on its Facebook page:
TO OUR READERS & FOLLOWERS: We heard you. Wednesday night, we made a poor judgment call in posting a story about Charles Ramsey’s criminal record and how he’s since reformed. While the story was factually sound, the timing of it and publication of such information was not in good taste, and we regret it. Your comments prompted us to quickly remove the story from our website and Facebook page, but we know we can’t erase what we’ve already done. Ramsey is a hero for his actions, and we recognize that. Thank you so much for your feedback.
I opined about this HUGE misstep a few days ago. I talked about the disconnect between the public and media.
Why in the world WEWS thought that this information Ramsey’s was at all relevant and that the public had ANY interest in hearing it is beyond me.
This was more than poor judgement. If such a mistake happened in the public sector, I am sure reporters, producers and other management at that station would be doing stories about how someone should be fired.
But this isn’t the public sector. Or even a regular business.
It’s a news outlet.
And WEWS wants viewers to accept an apology and it should all go away.
I will say this: It is smart that WEWS apologized. It is smart that WEWS admitted it was wrong.
But I would like to know what action station management is taking to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
True enough no one died with this mistake. But someone’s reputation was harmed. And I am in the reputation business.
Charles Ramsey was being hailed a hero and then, boom, you have WEWS reporting Ramsey’s history which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the story.
The story was planned and executed and the fact that no one had the judgement to stop it is quite frankly scary.
And if that newsroom operates like a runaway train–that may be even worse.
Either way it’s bad.
What happened is so far off the mark and out of bounds I get madder ever thinking about it. I am a former reporter and anchor. I worked in TV 20 years. I know intimately what I am talking about.
The station may have apologized. But WEWS has not addressed how it plans to fix the editorial issues which clearly exist there. And until the station does, WEWS is one news story away from doing this again.
Sure would love to hear what you think. You can do so below…]]>