Tiger, Toyota, Austin Plane Crash, Olympics–too much to discuss

There’s just so much going on to talk about and so little time–particularly with a brutal travel schedule lately. But, some of this stuff is just too good to pass up. So here are some quick takes.

Tiger. Rich Lerner of The Golf Channel did a great job of reviewing how the media covered the Tiger’s story and apology. The coverage, punditry, comments end up saying more about us as a culture and our media environment than Tiger. For my part, the criticism against Tiger for so tightly controlling the circumstances is stupid. Throwing himself into the rough and tumble of the kind of questions he would get, now that would be stupid. I think he did well, but as I saw in  a comment from Nick Faldo, it’s all about the actions now. He’s got a long way to earn back what he has lost. Like every major crisis, he and the golf world will never be the same for this. But, one hopes and prays, that a new Tiger will emerge that will earn and deserve our admiration and respect. Time will tell.

Toyota. More headlines of problems–now steering it seems. It causes one to wonder how a company that for many years made cars that were above average in safety and reliability could in one or two months go completely in the toilet. Well, I don’t believe the reality is there. I think this is what happens often when things go bad. Additional scrutiny causes additional problems and things pile up. Now the media-shy chairman is preparing to face a highly skeptical and go-for-the-throat Congress. Secretly I wish that Mr. Toyoda would ask the members of Congress this question: How can you be credible as watchdog of the public interest when you have a dog in the hunt? How can the American public take you seriously when your president has more to gain from our problems than anyone else on earth? I still am amazed that the media has not focused more on the inherent problems of mixing the roles of corporate ownership and protector of the public interest. That continues to me to be the fascinating undercurrent in this Toyota saga. (I note that Washington Post included a reference to this conflict but in the context of a story about Toyota spending money to buy off Congress–sometimes these guys just can’t get off the tried and true story lines. Tiresome.)

Austin plane crash. I will be sharing more details soon of direct involvement in the communication around this event. But what was most fascinating is seeing the way in which Twitter in this case drove the mainstream news as well as the situation awareness of the responders. Instant news is no longer about reputation management. Instant news via the internet and the latest incarnation of internet use we call social media is forever changing the game of response management. I blogged on this on emergencymgmt.com about how DHS was monitoring social media around the Olympics in fulfilling its mandate to provide a common operating picture and situational awareness. It was absolutely fascinating to watch this story unfold, particularly being part of the process.

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