30 Jun PR Roundup – June 30
Our PR roundup is a collection of top stories in PR and communications.
1. Senate Health Care Bill
One of the big stories swirling around the Senate health care bill this week was the CBO’s announcement that the bill could cause an estimated 22 million Americans to lose their health insurance. That headline alone dominated the discussion for several days.
Senate Republicans have struggled to control the message on this one – in large part because of the different views on health care policy within the party. It will always be an uphill climb to try and sell the bill to the American people if Republicans can’t persuade enough of their colleagues. If Republicans can come together behind a bill – with strong support from enough prominent outside voices – it will be easier to create a consistent message about why health care reform is necessary – and why this bill is the best way to do that. Legislators often get wrapped up the weeds of policy, talking about things like high-risk pools and net investment income taxes. Those terms rarely resonate. Senate Republicans would be wise to focus their messages on how their bill will improve the lives of everyday Americans.
CNN’s reputation took a hit this week when three employees resigned following the retraction of a story that “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.” Critics of the network pointed to the situation as proof of CNN’s shortcomings. Others saw this move as accountability while some questioned the resignations as too much for one mistake.
From a PR standpoint, CNN acted quickly in removing the story and apologizing to Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump advisor who was the focus of the story. Scaramucci accepted the apology and commended the network on doing the right thing. However, this alone will not push away the aura of “fake news” that the president and others have been placing on the company. Former NPR ombudsman Alicia Sheppard put it best when she suggested that CNN should be more transparent about its practices and should hire a public editor or ombudsman. The process of becoming more transparent and accountable should be clear to everyone.
Airbag manufacturer Takata has filed for bankruptcy due to not upholding a core PR value: transparency. The company has been dealing with a massive recall for a defect in its airbags that have killed 17 people. A defect in a product can be incredibly costly to fix, but consumers expect companies to fix problems – and fix them quickly.
When Takata managers first noticed their product’s defect, they instead chose to hide the problems. Had they been transparent about this issue, the company may have avoided bankruptcy and a torpedoed reputation. Instead the company is being sold, and PR people everywhere should be taking notes on what not to do.
Until next time…