Chris Gidez, head of crisis comms for Hill & Knowlton raises an excellent question in this post on Bulldog. Where is the accountability?
He provides some excellent examples of the treatment that Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda received at the hands of Congress. Members of Congress had decided on the results of the investigation well before it was completed, apparently accepting the media’s judgment about Toyota’s accelerator problem rather than waiting to find out the truth.
He then raises a similar question about Taco Bell and the recent widespread coverage of an apparently bogus lawsuit about the quantity of meat in their meat.
Toyota, Taco Bell, Enbridge (see previous posts), BP–I would guess Goldman would be part of this list if we had a little more inside information. Politicians and the media form an effective team in either generating reputation crises, or fanning flames of outrage to turn a relatively minor problem into a disaster. I have long seen these battles in terms of white hats and black hats, with the white hats always starting out on the heads of the accusers, and of course, the purely objective, innocent media who are only there to “report the facts.”
The truth is, and these recent events are showing it, that the black hats rightfully belong on the false accusers, be they lawyers, reporters/editors/publishers/producers/ too eager to attract an audience with a juiced-up story, or politicians looking for headlines at the expense of innocent people trying hard to do their jobs.
Not sure how it can be done, and I hate seeing people fall back on the court of law, but somehow there needs to be more accountability in these kinds of situations. The best way it seems is to bring these examples to the public’s attention and let them judge for themselves who can be believed and trusted.