I can’t help but be mildly fascinated with the unfortunate John Edwards scandal, purely from a PR perspective, of course. On the one hand, it’s an interesting case study in crisis communications, with Mr. Edwards scheduling an exclusive interview with ABC News late on a Friday afternoon in order to get the story out on his terms. It had the weekend to germinate and fester, but at least it wasn’t headline news in prime time. (Not that this had any real quelling effect on the story.)
On another hand, it was interesting to watch the timeline as to when this became “news.” For months, the National Enquirer had been beating the drum, but no mainstream media outlet would touch it. Mr. Edwards deftly and predictably discarded the report as “tabloid trash,” which is easy to do when the only outlet reporting the news is The Enquirer. But once indisputable photography showed up and eyewitness accounts began to surface, Mr. Edwards was forced to respond. Now, all mainstream media outlets are falling over each other trying to get the next scoop.
Will the Edwards crisis strategy succeed in laying this story to rest? He lied about it once, and there are still some unresolved issues that The Enquirer is sure to pursue. Did The Enquirer actually scoop the New York Times, et. al.?
It’s an intersting media world we live in…