Have they all gone mad? First, BP's Chairman emerges from a meeting with President Obama and tells the world BP is concerned about "the small people". Then the company's CEO goes before a Congressional committee and gives some of the poorest answers imaginable. Next stop for Tony Hayward...a yacht! Talk about bad PR.
Now comes General Stanley McChrystal and the piece in "Rolling Stone" that everyone is talking about. Why his PR team would set this up and why McChrystal would give such access to the media is a real puzzle. The general's media rep has already fallen on his sword and resigned. And perhaps by days end the General will be asked to do the same. The general is no stranger to controversy and has survived. But, so openly criticizing the President and mocking the Vice President during a war, is very bad PR indeed. If the President let's it slide; he is seen as weak.
If he fires the man in charge of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, does he do harm to the mission? Pundits are having a field day. President Obama has been criticized by all sides for not appearing angry enough during his primetime address on the oil disaster. Maybe it's time for Mr. Niceguy to pull no punches. We know what Harry Truman would do.
Media experts know that it's both substance and style that impact your message. Whether you are the President of the United States, the CEO of a fortune 500 company or a solo-preneur, words matter. And how you convey your message in the media matters. Apologies after the fact only go so far to repair your reputation.