A crisis management proposal

Poor Eliot Spitzer. I thought he was spending his time screwing the Wall Street rogues who got their jollies by destroying shareholder value. So it goes.

And if the photo on the front page of The New York Times this morning is an actual reflection of reality, Spitzer’s wife, Silda, doesn’t look like a happy camper. Wonder if she is thinking about whether it is too late to get the deposit back on the summer vacation rental property? (You’ll most likely have to pay the $1.25 and get the deadwood version if you want to see Silda standing by her man.)

But as I was thinking about this during my run this morning, it occurred to me that the standard public relations crisis management tactics are so very, well, Web 1.0. You know. It’s the equivalent of a public confessional:

First: I’m sorry. I apologize. I beg for forgiveness.

Then: Pick one or all three. I failed my (fill in the blank). I know I’ve violated the (fill in the blank). It will never happen (fill in the blank).

Here’s my modest proposal to improve this with the use of social media.

Create a video for YouTube. And require that this be done for every elected official immediately upon assuming office. Then you are ready to go when the inevitable happens. No need for the obligatory news conference. And no need to include the spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend in the video unless he or she has aspirations for elected office at some point.

And I’m not an advocate for prostitution, legal or otherwise. But from what I’ve read, the women involved in this situation were charging between $1,000 and $5,000 an hour for their professional services. That’s about what Spitzer will most likely now have to pay to crisis management experts if he wants to salvage his reputation and career. As someone who had to hire a New York-based crisis management company a few years ago, I can assure the Governor he is about to get the screwing of a lifetime.

My advice. Resign — and hire a book agent.

Update: After I hit the publish button, I saw this article in The Washington Post, Ritual of Repentance.

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3 responses to “A crisis management proposal

  1. Ron –

    What’s a public relations practitioner to do with such a sordid mess? Not much, except prepare your office as best as possible for the transition to the new governor. And politely ask your press buddies to leave Spitzer’s wife and family alone.

    The confessional ritual seems overdone because nearly Hollywood celebrity who gets busted for DUI, etc. does one before heading off to rehab, although usually without a spouse at the side.

    But this was different, for me at least, because of Silda Spitzer. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her at the first news conference. She looked absolutely shell-shocked. My heart went out to her because you could visibly see she was suffering. Her life, and the lives of her three daughters, have been changed forever.

    Spitzer is a “problem that needs to go away,” as a former mentor of mine liked to say. He must stay out of the public eye for the foreseeable future and indeed focus on his family.

  2. Oops. Sorry about that, RoB!

  3. Tim, I agree. It was jarring to see Silda Spitzer’s photo on the front page of The Times. And it was shameful that Eliot and I expect his advisers put her in that position. Might as well abandon this public confessional strategy. It has become a joke.

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