STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION IN THE FOLEY CASE: If You Were a Republican, and Wanted This Scandal Over, What Should You Do? Lanny Davis On Framing the Story Before Your Opponents Do
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Lanny Davis, former White House counsel under Clinton, veteran of the Monica Lewinsky wars, and a recognized expert on crisis communication was on NPR this morning, offering some very valuable insight on message strategy in the Mark Foley page scandal.
Davis recommends that iin any scandal, you want to get out in front of the story early in order to frame responsibility before either the media or your opponents do it for you. He argues that the GOP leadership, knowing about the emails last May, should have immediately confronted Foley, alerted the House Ethics Committee, told the Democratic and Republican members in charge of the Page program, and then gone public via the media.
With this strategy, Hastert & Co. would have been in front of the story while giving an impression of bi-partisanship, and the potential for a political feeding frenzy would have evaporated
But now, after the fact, Hastert continues to make all the typical mistakes that have propelled scandals in the media from Nixon forward. He first denied the story, then tried to evade the subject in media appearances, and then attacked Democrats. All of this, according to Davis, has only served to give the story more legs and to amplify attention.
When the revelations broke last week, Hastert instead should have admitted that he made a "misjudgment," something that happens in every workplace. He should have admitted that he could have handled the matter differently, apologized, and then promised that Foley would be thoroughly investigated.
But now, the dominant and powerful interpretations emanating from the Foley scandal are those of incompetency (GOP in a Bubble), and hypocrisy. And these are powerful negative interpretations for voters as they get ready to go to the polls.
Are university safe spaces killing intellectual growth?
Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.
- Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
- Time travel may be possible.
- Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.
- Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
- But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
- Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
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