Carlos in Danger – How the Media Can Turn on You
by Danielle Giaccio
Write Comment August 22nd, 2013 News Response
As a born and raised New Yorker, I have been around for my fair share of NY political scandals. New York is the hub of the media world and the saying is true, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”. As a PR professional, I think the saying should also be, “if you can survive the media here, you can survive it anywhere.” The NY media is currently focusing on a scandal that has yet again rocked the NY political scene. Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger was ousted as being involved in another scandal and admitted it, again.
Prior to the scandal coming to light, Weiner actually had a lead in the polls and it was looking like New Yorkers were ready to forgive and forget. Even the media was being kind to the once embattled congressman who initially had to resign due to the first round of accusations.
Weiner came out strong and had a good PR team to paint him in this new reformed light. He made several TV commercials acknowledging his past mistakes while asking New Yorkers to take a second look and give him a chance. He seemed to be a changed man in the eyes of voters and the media and we began to listen to what he had to say about the issues facing New Yorkers. We started to forget about the past scandal and started to take him seriously as a candidate.
All of that changed when a young woman went to the media with yet another claim against Weiner. She opened a can of worms on the candidate and inevitably ruined what his PR team worked so hard to prove to the media and the voters – that Weiner was a reformed candidate who was ready to put the past behind him. Little did his PR team know that his past would come back to haunt him and inevitably ruin the image that was initially portrayed to the media.
This brings to light an issue many publicists face in their daily work. What do you do when the image you worked so hard to build in the media and public is tarnished? How do you help the image recover? In this particular situation, can they recover?
In Weiner’s case, prospects for staging yet another recovery are dim. Let’s face it: he had a second chance and blew it. There is nothing the media loves more than a comeback – except maybe an epic scandal. Now he is left with a broken campaign and poor public image.
The unraveling of this campaign is not a reflection of poor PR tactics, just a poor candidate. The PR team successfully utilized the media to push the new reformed image of Weiner. But when the second scandal hit, there was little they could do to repair it. The media likes to report on trends, digging up old stories and giving them new meaning.
As PR professionals, it is important to remember that journalists do more than report specific events and transactions – they look for the bigger picture. Coverage of Apple or Samsung, for example, is rarely only about the latest gadget , but rather what makes it new from previous versions, and relevant in the current environment.