PR: The Good, Bad and Ugly
How To Survive Indictment, Affairs, Sex Tapes And Soul-Crushing Public Humiliation
by Patty Briguglio on 05/04/2012
Lying to the media is never a good idea. My prescription for a crisis is to tell it all, tell it fast and tell the truth. Otherwise, you may find yourself embroiled in a real-life morality tale, with the whole world watching, just like John Edwards and his lackey, Andrew Young.
Edwards’ narcissism and abysmal lack of PR finesse originally made him tabloid fodder, but it is his lies that have brought him to a point where, if convicted, he will face up to 30 years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines. In question is whether nearly a million dollars provided to Edwards by benefactors Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and the late Texas lawyer Fred Baron was misused and violated campaign finance laws during Edwards’ run for the 2008 presidential nomination.
It Is All About Money and Power
Infatuated with father-figure Edwards, his power and money, Young was willing to do just about anything for him, even going so far as to claim paternity of Edwards’ child with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.
In the federal corruption trial of John Edwards, Young has admitted that he spent a substantial portion of the million dollars in funds provided by the two aforementioned wealthy donors to build an upscale house for himself and his wife. Edwards’ defense alleges that the Youngs spent $200,000 of the donated money to add a pool, a theater and other expensive upgrades to their home. The donations funded the Youngs and Hunter while on the lam from the relentless pursuit of the media.
Yep, it is all about the money. Big bucks and the promise of a presidential appointment bought Young’s slavish loyalty to Edwards. When the money stopped and Edwards spectacularly fell from grace, Young found another way to continue to squeeze dollars from the high profile relationship via his tell-all book, The Politician.
The truth just has a way of always coming out . . . eventually.
PR Pros Do Not Condone Cover-Ups
As PR professionals, we think the public should know the real story behind any crisis, and know it right away. We do not believe in cover-ups.
People make mistakes. Sometimes it is an error of omission or of judgment. Either way, don’t attempt to cover up—just try to make things right.
Maybe like Edwards, your reputation has been destroyed. Perhaps your business—the one into which you have put your blood, sweat and tears—is facing bankruptcy. Or maybe you are being sued, or accused of a crime, or there has been a terrible accident and you are being held responsible.
No matter what has happened, you can begin anew and rebuild your personal brand. The first steps are the most difficult: you must acknowledge what has happened, and then quickly get on with making things right.
Do not lie. You always get found out, and it makes everything much, much worse.