Posts Tagged ‘scandal’

Not All Public Relations is Spin Just Like Not All FDA Approvals Are PhRMA Favors

August 23, 2011 1 comment

FDA Quote

Many thanks to Nancy F. Hughes, APR for alerting the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to a recent report published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that blasts everything produced by the Public Relations profession as ‘inaccurate spin.’

The report, titled “Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide,” was written by Baruch Fischhoff, PhD, Noel T. Brewer, PhD, and Julie S. Downs, PhD and  distinguishes “risk communications” from “public affairs (or public relations).” Read more…

Another Rupert O’Dwyer Revelation – PRSA Documented Website Hacks

July 26, 2011 7 comments

For JO, Kisses - Rupe

Amazingly, there’s a new revelation in the PRSA Phone Hacking scandal involving Jack O’Dwyer and his publication.  Vice President of Public Relations for PRSA Arthur Yann revealed in a comment on this blog yesterday that PRSA has evidence that someone accessed the private, password-protected, members-only section of PRSA’s website from an IP address traced back to O’Dwyer’s PR. Read more…

Has Rupert O’Dwyer Admitted to Hacking PRSA Conference Calls?

July 25, 2011 5 comments

Has Rupert O'Dwyer Admitted to Hacking PRSA Conference Calls?

As a follow-up to my previous entry, today’s blog post from Jack O’Dwyer (“PRSA Stonewall Battered by Facts“) appears to drop a bombshell in the form of a possible admission that his organization did indeed access the conference calls of the Public Relations Society of America without permission (a timely reveal given the News Corp phone hacking scandal currently unfolding in the UK).

In it, he provides specific details about the teleconferences themselves (including timing and participation).  Here’s a sample: Read more…

A Willing Casualty of the Age of Radical Transparency: Why Anthony Weiner Needs to go

June 7, 2011 1 comment

Anthony Weiner's Weiner

In a bizarre press conference, Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner admitted that he did indeed take a photo of his penis and send it to a young woman (and that this isn’t the first time – likely not the last either).

Anthony Weiner doesn’t need to resign because he went outside the bounds of his marriage to flirt with other women.  Had he disclosed that, he’d likely get to hold on to his job and career (like so many other philandering politicians).

He needs to go because he’s so stupid he actually thought (1) these photos would stay private AND (2) that he could get away with lying about this in a digital age where content has a long shelf life and is instantly shared.

Seriously.  This isn’t even the first time a politician has been taken down by messages pulled from a phone – didn’t soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Weiner learn from Kwame Kilpatrick?

Here are just some of the ways the photos and messages from Weiner could have come out: Read more…

Social Media Crisis Comm Case Study: HS English Teacher Natalie Munroe

February 13, 2011 2 comments
English Teacher Natalie Munroe Responds to Social Media Controversy With her own Blog Post

English Teacher Natalie Munroe Responds to Social Media Controversy With her own Blog Post

[Update: I was able to find a link someone posted to the Google Cache of the original blog: http://tin­­tubjsv]

As part of a webinar I’m presenting this week on Social Media Policy (“Social Media – Campus Policies & Protocol” – February 17, 2011 from 2-3:30 p.m. EST), I’ve been tracking some very recent case studies to discuss with the audience.

One of them was the story of Natalie Munroe, a High School English Teacher who was just suspended from Central Bucks East High School last week Wednesday after a current student happened across her blog ( which contained disparaging comments (including calling one student a “rude, beligerent [sic], argumentative f*ck”) about students, parents and co-workers.  The student forwarded the link to past students of Munroe’s.  Eventually some parents found out about it and notified school officials.

What’s become particularly fascinating about the case is that yesterday, Munroe used her blog to respond with her side of the story (as I write this, the local news media in Bucks County appears not to have picked this up yet).

For what it’s worth – responding via one’s blog is a rather bold and inspired strategy.  In the research I’ve done on cases like these (and in crisis public relations situations generally) people typically regret remaining silent at the advice of counsel and wish they would have weighed in to help influence public opinion on their own behalf.

From a PR perspective, I might suggest to Natalie that she undelete/republish all of the content from her blog.  Here’s why:

  1. hiding it tends to imply that one is admitting that the content is shameful (whereas being transparent tends to be a quality that inspires respect/deference)
  2. it removes the context that the benign portions of the blog provide and allows people to focus on the sensational excerpts posted in the news
  3. as Natalie herself noted, there are already cached copies in circulation anyway

Our society is going to be engaged in a difficult debate about the limits of free speech for the next few years as more people begin to publish information about themselves via social media.

Until we’ve crystallized opinion and established a legal/societal framework around how open we allow people to be depending on their role – it’s best to avoid becoming a case study at all costs.  The nascent legal framework in place and the fact that many judges/prosecutors/jurors/board members are largely ignorant of the intricacies of social media means you can’t be guaranteed a fair trial.