Comments on three mostly unrelated topics.
O’Reilly–of Fox News said on his program Wednesday night while interviewing his frequent guest who is a blogger for Fox News I guess, and he turned directly to the audience saying very clearly “Now I want you all to understand this, whatever you read on the blogs is not true, just don’t believe it, it is not true. If you want to know what is true, turn to the mainstream media.” That is not his exact quote but it is very close to what he said. I just about laughed out of bed. Yeah right, the mainstream media–O’Reilly and Fox included–clearly never have an agenda that leads them to report anything or state anything that isn’t true. His very statement undermined his point, of course. What a hoot.
Roger Clemens and the Zoo–I commented earlier that both of them are dealing with serious reputation issues but the zoo was handling it better. They suggested calmly and quietly that the victims of the tiger attack may have taunted the animal before it attacked. Attorney Geragos went nuts loudly protesting that the zoo should not be attacking the victims. I saw on the news last night (on the crawl actually) that at least one of the victims admitted to being drunk and provoking the tiger. Good job zoo. You did this right and earned respect and credibility in the process. As for Geragos, attacking those who politely defend themselves doesn’t work. Get a new schtick.
Clemens–well, I’ve said enough on this. Mitchell presented why Clemen’s trainer had more reason to tell the truth than lie, and more reason to tell the truth than Clemens did and does. Me thinks the pitcher protested too much.
Just returned from speaking at the Utility Communicators International conference held in San Francisco. I’d heard of the old Mark Twain quote before, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” but I never knew what it meant. While it was in the 80s back home in Bellingham we just about froze in Fog City.
Interacting with some of the professional communicators at this conference brought home some of the key issues that are continually being raised here. There was incredulity about the idea of corporate blogging, and only about 1/4 had heard of wikipedia. More surprising to me was the fact that almost no one had any familiarity with the Incident Command System and its communication element, the Joint Information Center. More about that in future posts, but it is my strong opinion that everyone in crisis management and communication needs to have strong familiarity with these–and particularly if there is any chance of having to work with any local or state first responder agency such as police, fire or emergency response. Everyone will be playing a game and you will be asked to play, but you won’t have a clue as to what the rules are. That sucks.
We had a good discussion at lunch about blogging and the role of the internet in crisis management. I am more and more convinced as I talk to communicators out there that the coming culture conflict between audiences and communicators will be more challenging and disruptive than anything we can imagine. Corporate speak doesn’t work in a time of when authenticity is prized above all. But I like the question of one gentleman sitting at the front: “Did corporate speak ever work?”