From blame to shamePosted by Albers Communications on June 8, 2011 | Comments (1)
It is often said that attorneys who represent themselves have fools for clients.
I think the same can be said for public figures who think they can manage their own public relations – especially during a crisis situation.
Congressman Anthony Wiener, who had been known for his ability to work with the media, has proved to be his own worst enemy.
While I certainly do not condone the Congressman’s personal behavior, I believe that public relations professionals could have helped him mitigate the damage to his reputation and spare his family at least some of the public humiliation they have endured.
My advice to Congressman Wiener would have included:
- Always tell the truth.
The Congressman made a bad situation worse when he lied about his behavior and repeatedly asserted that his Twitter account had been hacked.
- Issue a statement rather than grant personal interviews with reporters.
Congressman Wiener seemed to believe that, because of past positive relationships with reporters, they would “go easy” on him. That definitely was not the case as they relentlessly probed for the truth.
- If a press conference becomes necessary, keep it short.
Instead of reading a short statement and issuing a sincere apology, the Congressman stood at the podium for more than 30 minutes. His statements generated many more questions, and his attempt to bring closure to the situation may actually have prolonged it.
My final piece of advice to the Congressman – make sure you have a good PR person on your staff before you hit the campaign trail again.