JOHN EDWARDS' MEDIA DISASTER
Former Presidential candidate John Edwards has now admitted he fathered a
child out of wedlock. Edwards went to great lengths to cover up the matter. It
also comes after he publicly denied the child was his.
The Insider doesn’t care that Edwards fathered the child. It cares
tremendously that he lied about it.
THE NUMBER ONE RULE OF MEDIA RELATIONS
NEVER lie to the news media.
Upon learning that Edwards admitted the child was his, it took The Insider less
than two minutes to find the ABC Nightline interview in which he denied
fathering the child. Click here to watch the video.
Don’t lie on social media, either.
This is the internet age… and it’s an age in which our comments to the media
will never completely go away.
A BETTER APPROACH
Lying to the media is unethical. And dangerous. Simply telling the truth is often
the best thing to do, and the best way to make a negative news story go
away. The next best option is to not address the issue directly. As the
Edwards campaign started to falter, the media began to increasingly focus on
his personal life. It would have been perfectly fine for him to say, “These are
personal matters for our family, and I won’t be discussing them publicly.”
Any self-respecting reporter would have dug in and continued to push the
point. The American public probably would have presumed he was guilty at
that point. Edwards would have had to stand his ground and stick to his
“personal matters” statement. But, in doing so, the story today would be that
he fathered the child, not that he fathered it, lied about it, and then told the truth
in advance of a “tell all” book.
John Edwards wouldn’t even be in the news right now, if he’d simply told the
truth. His Presidential campaign would have still come to an end, but the story
would have gone away much more quickly, instead of dogging him as it did
for several weeks, and coming back to bite him again, as it has now.
WHAT'S HELPING EDWARDS... AT THE MOMENT
John Edwards is lucky. Or, he may have taken a calculated risk in the face of
the upcoming book, and chosen to come clean now. The Haitian earthquake
relief efforts, and the future of health care reform following the election of a
republican to the U.S. Senate, are overshadowing his story. Releasing
negative news in this manner, when other major events are capturing the
media and the public’s attention, is a strategy to consider. But there’s risk. The
media may choose to shift it’s attention to the announcement. That won’t
happen in this case, but the risk is always there.
THE STORY ISN'T OVER
There are questions about whether John Edwards used campaign funds to try
to cover up or in some way silence the people involved in his current
debacle. That’s a violation of federal law that could mean jail time for Edwards.
A federal investigation will also mean more negative news coverage.
Let’s quickly recap… a denial and a lie, leading to weeks of negative news
coverage. An admission (which puts the negative story back into the press) in
advance of a tell-all book, (which will generate more negative press). A
potential investigation, (and prolonged negative media coverage), about the
use of campaign funds.
NEVER lie to the media.
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|John Edwards' Media Disaster