Political Foot-In-Mouth Fetish

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Public Relations Commentary, Uncategorized |

Ok, Harry. You said it. You thought it was off-the-record. So you sez. Didn’t anybody ever tell you that off-the-cuff often trumps off-the-record?
So, Harry now what do you do? Do you:

  • Ask for forgiveness. Oops, tried that.
  • Pretend it was all a big misunderstanding. Oops, tried that.
  • Blame it on Hostess Twinkies.
  • Swear upon a stack of Bibles that you were channeling Rush Limbaugh when you said it.
  • Claim you suffered a momentary flashback to the 1950s when white guys in power actually talked like that.
  • Review your options for retirement living.

The latterly choice, Harry, is looking more and more like the best choice. Consider the virtues of Switzerland.
Too bad, Harry, that an improvident slip of the tongue has besmirched your reputation, such as it was. You have lost the moral high ground, Harry. Pretty hard to take it back. Just ask the leaders of the free world’s biggest financial institutions.
There’s only so much that PR can do for a situation like this. (See the first rule of media relations again, “Nothing’s ever off-the-record” and rule #2, “The reporter is not there to be your friend.”)
Then again, there’s the rule that says the reporter is in charge of the question, and you’re in charge of the answer. I think you muffed that one, Harry.
Basic media relations 101, Harry. We teach it every day in the PR trenches.

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