Roland Burris’ Bad PR Strategy
As Burris’ allies (and the Politico) would have it, the source of Burris’ current problems is his crappy PR strategy.
Here’s his former media relations guy, Bud Jackson, disclaiming any responsibility for his recent woes (Jackson worked with Burris until he became Senator).
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.
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…
I know based on my own private conversations and experience that Senator Roland Burris has been the victim of bad advice and, when set-up to fail, he certainly shall we say, has had less than adeqaute attempts to better and more clearly inform the public at a press conference, or two. It has ben painful to watch. Regardless, the senator has more than 30 years of public service and his integrity has never been questioned. [empahsis original]
And here’s the Politico’s "news" story explaining that Burris’ problems all stem from bad media strategy.
The crisis now threatening Sen. Roland Burris’ political career started with revelations about his entanglements with disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
But it was the way the situation was handled by Burris and his advisers — trapped between competing political and legal demands — that has made the problem much worse and has pushed him to the brink of losing his seat. In multiple interviews, several Senate aides and Burris confidants say the senator was unprepared from a public relations and political perspective to deal with the national media frenzy and ethics problems he now confronts.
Absent an aggressive communications strategy, the press and the public have formed their own opinions that the senator got his new job on false pretenses. As his support crumbled, Burris made a calculated decision not to rile up his backers — many of whom are black — for fear that it would create a vicious racial debate. But this decision has made him appear completely isolated politically, with virtually nobody in Illinois or Washington speaking up for him.
With the perception that Burris was not forthright under oath in describing the circumstances of his Dec. 30 appointment, the junior Democratic senator has now dug himself in a very deep hole that even his backers acknowledge he won’t be able to get out of unless he’s vindicated by a state prosecutor’s office and the Senate Ethics Committee, both of which are now investigating him.
Against this backdrop, Burris and his team continue to fight calls for his resignation, saying doing so would be an admission of guilt when they believe they were guilty only of a poor strategy. [my emphasis]
One especially nice aspect of the Politico story is that the only named source is Danny Davis, the guy whom Blago offered the Senate seat to just before he approached Burris about it (and who wanted the seat himself).
“The whole thing got out of hand so quickly and perhaps too quickly for it to be effectively managed,” said Rep. Danny K. Davis, a Chicago Democrat. “I think people have made up their mind … and I don’t know if there’s a great deal he’s going to be able to do to turn that around.”
But aside from Davis, the Politico cites one after another anonymous source talking about what a shame it is that Burris didn’t adopt a better PR strategy.
Not a one questions the wisdom of Burris actually accepting the seat after Burris made attempts to raise money–potentially in exchange for the seat. Nor do any of these unnamed sources–or Manu Raju, reporting the story–entertain the possibility that the problem was in Burris’ seemingly deliberate attempt to keep his extensive discussions with Blago’s team secret, and not his management of the crisis that broke out after those discussions became public knowledge. And none of Burris’ anonymous allies or Raju consider the possibility that no media strategy would blunt the real suspicions people have that Burris deliberately hid his ties to Blagojevich just long enough to get the Senate seat.
Nope. It’s all because Burris’ smoke and mirrors were insufficient to the task, not any problem with the underlying reality of Burris’ actions.
I saw this title and laughed because I thought it would be about Burris digging the existing hole deeper than it had to be.
(But EW is right. When I see Burris on my TV I tell him, “Stop digging”. The best PR would not get him out of this.)
This is the PR guy’s way of (a) saying “it isn’t my PR work that brought about this debacle” and (b) “things were going well while I was on the job” therefore (c) “if you want to have effective PR and keep your high-profile job you should hire me instead of the guys Burris now has.”
In other words, it’s a crummy commercial by and for the former PR guy.
You’re saying that’s true of an entire Politico article, not entirely dependent on said PR guy, that makes that argument?
The title was ironic, you know, to point out how shitty all these argumeents are.
Not look like what I describe?
I mean, really, how much more blatant a piece of former PR Guy ass-covering and simultaneous pitching his own superior services could it get? Set your decoder rings to B2….
I’d be willing to bet that either he’s tight with the Politico author, fed the guy a pre-written and pre-digested story so that author could make a deadline, or paid for a PR placement to protect his own image and sell his services. You know, media outlets have done things like that* from time to time, and one of the things PR people are good at is getting that kind of placement for their clients.
It wouldn’t be the first time a blog had done similar, I’m sure.
* Take a certain number of dollars per time interval in exchange for a certain number of bold-face type placements of the payor’s name in favorable-light coverage in the media outlet.
Sure. But your point would then only apply to 1/3 of the blog post.
I’ve had that problem before
but in my defense,it’s hard to bullshit a cop when you’re drunk
Perhaps the Politico folks have been noticing how insular some aspects of Chicago can be, and are looking to soften up a facilitator.
Ya’ gotta admit that Blago surely pwned Harry Reid with Burris’ Senate appointment.
Keeping Burris stinks. Pushing him out will stink too.
Every which way Harry turns, the quicksand just keeps on getting deeper.
To churn the lovely metaphor even further, straight adherance to the established protocols is a strategy tailor-made for congeries like Illinois Democratic politics. Reid would have been well-advised to follow it.
I would think an interim election in June say would qualify for a grant under the Stim – about the time Senator Franken gets sworn in. In the meantime, doesn’t that prospect provide an opportunity to test the rebel party’s stomach for filibuster? Fully televised suitable for late night repackaging I would hope.
Not to mention testing Harry the weak Reid’s stomach for filibuster. (So far he doesn’t have a f*cking clue.)
Is there some background to Politico that needs to be shared far and wide? I mean generally, not just in the Burris case you mention, EW.
Anybody have scoop?
Blago didn’t just shit on Reid; he shit on the rest of the dems, too, including Obama. Either they leave Burris in, and deal with the embarassment of having this utter hack, smiling and trying to get into photo-ops…with the other Senators ducking him like he had facial lesions, or they can dump him, and deal with that. As the saying goes, either way, it won’t be pretty.
And one more time; we don’t know just WHAT’S on those tapes that Fitz has. If Emanuel is on there hemming and hawing about ANY kind of comp for Blago, the shitstorm will come down on HIM, and some of it will stick to Obama.
I’m not as sanguine about Fitz’s “impartiality” as are some people. Nor, about his zeal for going the whole hog on corruption and on the people lying about it. I seem to recall that Karl Rove is NOT eating off a metal tray. Nor, for that matter, is Libby, as far as I know.
There could be some very unpleasant surprises coming down the Fitzgerald Turnpike for the democrats, and coming after the Daschle, Richardson, Geither, stuff, it will look like a pattern to a lot of people.
Throw in Burris for a little ongoing-if-unindicted icing on the cake, and there could be substantial valuable political capital lost on this.
Don’t forget, Reid, himself, made a phone call to Blago to check in on the Sotheby’s Auction of the valuable “golden” Senate seat.
Don’t blame Libby’s freedom on Fitz – that was the doing of the WH, which commuted his sentence (without the proper review, and before he’d served any time, contrary to the usual procedures, as was pointed out here.)
I wish I was on his PR team. I could sink some Republicans.
Every time I opened my mouth, I would point out that Jon Kyl and Lindsey Graham lied to the f-ing Supreme Court during the Hamdam case. I would ask the press if any lie that Burris is claimed to have said is worse than lying to the SUPREME COURT. I would ask them why they have a double standard, and why they never pushed those two scurvy dogs on lying to the Supreme Court, and why they never demanded that those two Republicans step down for lying to the highest court in the land. In short I would put the press on trial for not doing their jobs.
Anything they ask me, they get Kyl and Graham are liars.
looks like we the people of the State of California will get our own chance to tank the state economy on May 19th
so we got that to look forward to
Hope we still got a State by then …
Wouldn’t you help if you could?