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September 16, 2009

Gee, Wonder Who Just Hired a PR Firm Specializing in Corporate Crisis Management?

ACORN.

Do I know this for a fact? Not as a fact, no.

But I know damn well ACORN has shifted from its Scott Levenson "deny everyting"/"blame it on raaacism and FoxNews" strategy -- it wasn't working -- and now is simply following the ABC's of corporate crisis management, as dictated to them, I imagine, by a big DC PR firm they just hired with your own money.

"Get ahead of the story," "acknowledge mistakes," "don't spin," "promise appropriate reaction" are all basic and well-known steps of a company dealing with a possibly existential crisis.

So, two days ago they were denying eveything, and Scott Levenson was telling us that "process is important," whatever the eff that means, and the ACORN CEO Bertie Lewis was instructing us that we were all racists.

Now, as soon as the Senate votes to defund them, they say "we'll conduct our own internal audit," later changed to "independent audit," and they want us to give them three months (until the story blows over and the heat's off) to continue collecting federal money.

Three months -- when, they hope, we'll all have forgotten about this unfortunate episode.

And how "independent" is that independent auditing group? Let's just say they're no quite independent enough to not appreciate the yeoman's work ACORN does on behalf of Democrats.

In a press release, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis says, that as “a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees,” the group will immediately stop accepting anyone into ACORN office for service programs, will conduct in-service training of staff, and begin an audit “to review all of the systems and processes called into question by the videos,” to be conducted by the group’s Independent Advisory Council.

The Council includes many prominent Democrats, including the man who helped President Obama Transition Team, John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress; former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; Andrew Stern, International President of the Service Employees International Union; and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros.

Or, as Karl tweets:

A Soros hack, an SEIU thug, someone who pleaded to lying to the FBI, and a Kennedy

SEIU, by the way, is virtually a conjoined twin with ACORN. So, honestly, Andy Stern? As John MacEnroe would say, "You cannot be seeerious!"

But they are.

They want three months for you to forget. They want three months for Giles and O'Keefe to run out of videos. They want three months for a new crisis to erupt and distract us.

And they want this, too, because they know if a House vote is taken now, centrist Democrats would have to vote for it and it would easily pass, and the former Chief Community Organizer himself would have to sign a defunding bill into law.

So they are offering a fig leaf of an excuse for Democrats -- "It's indefensible, but we should only censure them, not impeach them." Remember that?

Yeah, they do too. It worked last time.

Maybe the entire board of directors will be photographed on the steps of a church, or maybe the entire organization will huddle with Jesse Jackson for "ministering" and redemption.

This "three months to fix the endemic lawlessness that we've reveled in since we were chartered" non-plan is bullshit from the get go.

Remember: The goal in any existential crisis is merely to survive, to continue to exist. And that is all ACORN is doing now, even as it parrots the words put into their mouths by the pricey Dem-connected DC PR firm your money is paying for.

Your money is now paying for Democrat-connected PR mavens who are telling ACORN what lies to tell you.

It Depends on What the Word "Independent" Means: William Amos tells me that one minute of google-sleuthing has already yielded fruit:

Should be stated that in the Hotair thread we discovered that two of these "investigators" are actually members of ACORN on their advisory board.

Ah, yes. That special kind of independent review that only corporate insiders can provide.


The Science of Corporate Crisis Management: Okay, it's not really a science, but it's a mature art.

And maybe this is obvious -- but does anyone see this as precisely the chain of events in ACORN's current crisis?

The eight characteristics are:

1. Surprise that is always driven by media exposure.

2. Insufficient Information about the relevant facts and the emerging public perception of the issue.

3. Escalating Flow of Events that hampers the ability of management to understand quickly that, like it or not, they "own" the problem and must quickly articulate a persuasive response.

4. Loss of Control over the way the growing crisis is perceived and the impact it is beginning to have on the company.

5. Intense Scrutiny from Outsiders/Insiders including media, government, regulatory agencies, activist groups, key stakeholders, and most importantly, the management team itself.

6. The Beginning of the Siege Mentality that causes company leadership to attempt to "hide" behind the legal aspects of the crisis, rather than confront the central issues, and thereby allows the crisis to inflict more damage on the organization.

7. Panic that perverts and/or paralyzes the decision-making process.

8. Issue Solved by Public Arena in a manner designed to satisfy the interests of outsiders—including the media, government, regulatory agencies and activist groups—but never the interests of the company itself.

Note that it's Step 8 the crisis managers wish most to avoid. They endeavor to convince the public that they can handle the crisis/illegality/scandal on the inside with no external interference needed.

Sound familiar?


By the Way: If anyone's in PR, or can put me in touch with someone in PR who wouldn't mind being interviewed by a right-wing blog, I'd like to talk to you (or your contact) about this.

I could keep you anonymous, as I'd obviously be looking for confirmation about the standard PR playbook, and you probably wouldn't want your boss or partners to know you'd given it up.



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posted by Ace at 07:39 PM

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