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Biden And McCarthy: Two Different PR Crises With Simple Remedies
CommPRO.biz -- Fay Shapiro CommPRO.biz -- Fay Shapiro
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Thursday, January 12, 2023


The Handling Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Provides A Lesson On How Not To Make A PR Crisis Worse For All Types Of CrisesArthur Solomon

It didn’t take long for the first two major PR crises to emerge in 2023.

The first was centered on Kevin McCarthy’s quest to become Speaker of The House.  It took 15 rounds of votes before McCarthy finally achieved his goal. But because he gave in to the demands of his far-right opponents much of the media reported that McCarthy had lost his respectability while surrendering to his foes.

The second PR crisis followed a few days later when it was revealed that President Joe Biden had top secret documents in multiple locations.  

I realize that there is a vast difference between Biden and how former President Donald Trump handled the documents that should have not been taken to a non-secure location. But nevertheless the disclosure resulted in a major PR crisis for the sitting president.

PR crises specialists probably have lots of advice on how both McCarthy and Biden should handle their crises. As someone who has thankfully not had clients involved in too many PR crises over the years I often disagree with the self-anointed wizards – the PR crises specialist – who think they have all the answers.

During my career in public relations I have worked on many politically-oriented campaigns, including presidential ones. I don’t think it takes a genius to provide both McCarthy and Biden with advice that can help them regain the confidence of the American public.

In the order that the crises occurred, here are my common sense recommendations:

  • McCarthy: His task of restoring his creditability and respectability is clear cut. He must demonstrate that he will not give in to his far-right opponents for the remainder of his term and advance legislation that’s best for the country even if it antagonizes his foes. It’s a simple fix with a long solution.
  •  Biden: His crisis has a two-part simple solution.
  1. He should have his surrogates go on as many TV political and other talk shows as possible to remind viewers that unlike Trump, the Biden team promptly notified the proper authorities about these documents and without delay turned them over to the National Archives.
  2. Biden should also make himself available for a no-holds-barred press conference devoted exclusively to the classified documents. 

As of press time, Biden has mostly been quiet about the classified documents found in various locations.  The longer he keeps the press at bay, the more negative stories will be reported. Biden has had enough time to prepare for a meet the press conference. Every day he doesn’t will result in questions from the GOP and the media. 

Both Biden and McCarthy don’t need a cast of 100 PR crises specialists to advise them. They both hold the keys to solving their crises. And the solutions are clear-cut and simple.

The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and was on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He has been a key player on Olympic marketing programs and also has worked at high-level positions directly for Olympic organizations. During his political agency days, he worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com.


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