The Roland Burris train wreck - "Not my fault" says PR guy
Well, here's one way to get your name out. Find an example of a public relations strategy gone terribly wrong and then let everyone know you had nothing to do with it.
Let's take the train wreck of the month: U.S. Senator Roland Burris.
Staggering as it is to believe, he's actually eclipsed the negative press of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
It's the equivalent of breaking the four-minute mile. No one has shot himself in the foot faster or with such precision for well, weeks. And in politics - this is a substantial feat.
Not my fault
Oh yeah, and by the way, it's not Bud Jackson's fault.
He's apparently a PR guy from Illinois who used to advise Burris. He advised him when everything was going ducky.
Now that the Senator has imploded, it's no longer Jackson doing the advising. It's someone else. And he's happy to point the finger and provide the phone number.
In an email mass-blasted to "friends, colleagues, and members of the media" this morning, he let's everyone know it's not his fault.
It's an odd email. It's an odd strategy. But public relations is often odd.
You remember the "McCain flying back to Washington and canceling the David Letterman show so he can fix the economy but he didn't actually fly back to Washington because he was getting interviewed by Katie Couric only to have David Letterman pick up the live feed and broadcast it on his show and mock him endlessly" strategy?
It appears to be something like that.
Before everything blew up
"As many of you may recall I actively helped my former client, Roland Burris, during his run-up to being successfully seated in the United States Senate," he begins.
"Since that time, well ... his team's public relations efforts have been less than stellar. Turns out that, because my business is political communication, I need to let folks know that I have not been involved in the decisions that have led to the public relations fiasco over the past week. In fact, I actively counseled his team to take very different actions, to no avail."
Like only contradict yourself once, perhaps? Twice at most?
He doesn't say. But he does provide his "friends, colleagues, and members of the media" helpful contact information to the person everyone should be blaming. He even provides the phone number.
We called it. It's been re-routed to a fax machine. It was supposed to be the direct line to Burris's communications director, Jim O'Connor.
Despite all of this, Jackson is standing by his old client stating that "his integrity has never been questioned."
"I know that he has done nothing inappropriate despite the impression that has been left," he adds.
Then whose fault is it? Besides his terrible new team of advisers, of course. Certainly not Burris.
"It's not so bad if you're a Republican, a Democrat gunning for his seat, or if you're trying to sell newspapers -- they all benefit by painting everything in its worst possible context," Jackson wrote.
Yes. Context. Like the pesky trick of pulling up someone's comments during testimony and placing them next to comments made a month later contradicting those earlier comments. And then placing those comments next to statements made to the press which again contradict earlier comments.
Don't you hate context?