Poll: Was Immediate Honesty Anthony Weiner’s Best Move?
The crisis communications rulebook usually teaches that a public figure’s best chance for professional survival is to disclose everything the moment a scandal breaks. But would that have worked for Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY)?
A brief recap: Last week, the married Congressman denied sending a photo of himself in his underwear to a woman on Twitter – but said he couldn’t rule out “with certitude” that the photo was indeed of him.
His media interviews got more surreal as the week went on, as I wrote about here.
It turns out that may not have been the only photo. More photos are emerging today, including at least one shot with a suggestive title and several with his naked torso. Another website is reporting on the “sexts” he allegedly sent another woman.
What crisis strategy would you have recommended to Mr. Weiner when the press first started asking questions?
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This is starting to sound similar to the Tiger Woods ongoing “bimbo eruptions.” It does Rep. Weiner no good to apologize for one inappropriate picture when there might be other ones about to pop up.
After all the inappropriate photos are revealed he should tearfully apologize (with his family by his side) and then go into some sort of rehab program for Twitter perverts…
While I think Rep. Weiner did the right thing in terms of apologizing and coming clean, it took the leaking of inapporpriate pictures and nearly a week of embarassing press and lying. In my opinion he lost the sincerity of the apology when he stated that he sent the picture “as a joke.”
In terms of the right communications strategy, he would have been better off saying “Yes, that was me. Any more questions?” At that point he’s a pervert and not a liar. President Clinton was impeached for not having an affair but for lying. Had he come clean ten days ago, this wouldn’t be an issue today. His press staff probably had limited knowledge of this and based their strategy on what they did know- he was “innocent” and his account was “hacked.”
**As I’m about to post this…he just needs to stop talking. Plan and simple
From a purely political point of view, of course he should have come clean at the outset. However, who knows what was going on behind the scenes in the family dynamics arena that may have precluded it.
Also shows the problems that arise when a principal – whether out of pride, hubris or stupidity – fails to fully inform the communications team at the outset. If his press team didn’t ask “what else is potentially out there?” from the very first moment the Twitter pic became public, then shame on them.
Immediate honesty would have given the story a shorter shelf life and it made it more survivable, but you also have the fact Chris Lee just got popped for something very similar and lost his seat over it. That’s probably why he felt he had to roll the dice with the lies and he crapped out.
The lies of the past week are what he won’t to be able to weather. Plus today’s ridiculous performance (I was literally yelling at the screen, “Get off the stage!”) makes it even harder. He needed one of those ol’ time vaudeville hooks…
As Elliott Spitzer can attest, when someone in the NSA wants you gone, it’s very easy. That is because all of your phone calls, emails, texts and other electronic communications are monitored at NSA level. This is how Spitzer was nabbed, by phone conversations — not cash transfers as the “official” story would have you believe.
So the real lesson here is to government officials who may stray too far from what the owners of this country want. They can pull up your emails, texts and so forth, and find some way to embarrass you. If you’re an idiot like Weiner having phone sex, you’re dead meat. Where do you think Breitbart and the rest get all these emails, texts, etc.
Weiner handled this things terribly…but in the end I don’t in this particular case think he could save himself, even with the best Mr. Media Training advice. That’s because he’s a moron for the kind of “sex” stuff he engaged in. Cheating on wife? You can survive that. Went to a hooker a year ago? No problem. Doing goofy sex things on the internet last Tuesday? Uh oh…