Ono the Ostrich CRISIS MANAGER
The Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management 
 Editor: Erik Bernstein 
  Publisher: Jonathan Bernstein

"For Those Who Are Crisis Managers,
Whether They Want to be or Not"

2012 Jonathan Bernstein

Instant Death by Social Media

Volume XIII, Number 16

August 30, 2012   



The term "media training" has to be redefined as training for communicators responsible for using ALL forms of media, traditional and social.  The term "mass media training" may, in fact, be more appropriate. 


                           Jonathan Bernstein   




Instant Death by Social Media 


"The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue." -- Edward R. Murrow


Those of you who frequent our social media accounts know that we're quite fond of using quotes to put the world of crisis management into context. What so struck me about this particular quote is the fact that Murrow died in 1965, and the truth of his words has only been magnified as time passes.  


What do you think Murrow would say if he was given a look at Twitter some 30 seconds after a major incident? I imagine even the man who challenged McCarthyism at its height would be taken aback at the sheer volume, ridiculous speed, and frightening carelessness with which many reporters churn out stories before the facts are in front of them, as well as the public's ravenous hunger for more, not to mention its addiction to re-broadcasting without hesitation. Together, it creates an environment conducive to instant death by social media. 


Recent examples include that of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose career was dampened when a local blogger's false allegation was picked up and reported as truth nationwide. For another, this very month the price of crude oil jumped up a full dollar when a Twitter account claiming to be a Russian official stated (falsely) that the president of Syria was dead and was echoed by users across the service.  


As writers, we have a duty to question our sources and seek undeniable proof before reporting information as fact. At the same time, as readers, we have a duty to question the information that's presented, even when it comes from a trusted figure. Unless both sides are working toward the truth, there remains room for rumor and innuendo to make their way in.  


This will only become more true as the speed of communication grows ever faster and, as it does, we would all do well to keep Murrow's words in mind. 


As always, below you'll find a summary of the best from both of our blogs.   

If you like what you see, please share it with others by using the "Forward Email" link at the bottom of the ezine and tell them to subscribe!  IMPORTANT NOTE: If you just "Forward" using your own email program's "Forward" function and your recipient thinks they're being spammed, they can click on the Opt Out link and opt YOU off the list. So use the "Forward Email" link, please. 




Thank you, and read on!


          - Erik



By Erik Bernstein

Here's a look at some recent posts from both the Bernstein Crisis Management blog and our Crisis Management blog over at Carter McNamara's Free Management Library. Recently we've covered everything from Progressive and Todd Akin's #CrisisFails to high school election scandals.

When the face of your company is a trendy, goofy, perpetually smiling woman, people expect that's what your tone will be. When Matt Fisher called Progressive out online for (allegedly) battling to avoid paying out for his slain sister's insurance, Progressive's #CrisisFail was that it didn't have Flo in mind at all, and turned to legal to handle communications, inciting rage amongst the online community.

You probably never heard of Rep. Todd Akin before last week, but if you took a poll today he'd be a likely winner for least-liked politician of the moment. With just a couple of sentences, Akin made himself into both a laughingstock and a widely hated person, making him the perfect example of How to Trash a Political Career in 15 Seconds or Less.
Erik Bernstein
Erik Bernstein

If you'd like your business to survive, you have to think about Crisis Management for the Long Haul. Sure, it may be easier to patch a problem up with the first solution you come across, but unless you consider the ramifications down the line, you could find that your "solution" has blown up in your face.

Yeah We Lost Your Kid, So What? That's exactly the attitude United Airlines employees had when confronted by a pair of scared and angry parents who were wondering why their child, who was flying unaccompanied, had not arrived at her final destination. After taking a thorough lashing on social media and some amateurish and ham fisted attempts at online reputation management, would United finally do the right thing?

Although Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been plagued by public scandal and employee arrests, he still hasn't embraced transparency. After announcing a recent review of anti-corruption controls, Murdoch still insisted it was "not based on any suspicion of wrongdoing," even though the rest of us can see plainly that he's full of it. Has News Corp's Crisis Taught Rupert Murdoch Anything?

A high school senior uses a faculty password to break into his school's computer system, but this was no act of vandalism or theft. Jacob Bingham pursued proof that a teacher had fixed the student elections. He got it, and quickly caught a suspension, but this story of Tampering Teachers and Bad Crisis Management drew the notice of the media, and things got complicated for the district in a hurry!

With hosts Jonathan Bernstein, Rich Klein, and Melissa Agnes at the wheel, along with guest Karen Freberg, The Crisis Show's latest episode was a whirlwind of crisis management advice. Examining several social media blunders, reputation management issues in the world of sports, West Nile, and the #CrisisFail of the week, Rep. Todd Akin and his foot-in-mouth moment, The Crisis Show Ep. 10 - Sports, Schools, and Politics is available for viewing.

Erik Bernstein is a freelance writer, editor of Crisis Manager, and Social Media Manager for Bernstein Crisis Management

The Bernsteins Available to Deliver Free Guest Lectures


Jonathan alone, or the team of Jonathan and Erik Bernstein, are available at no charge to deliver guest lectures to college classes via Skype or Google Hangout.  All you need at your end is a single computer with webcam and a strong broadband connection.  Contact us for more info!


Attention Corporate Boards of Directors (and those who serve them). 


If you're connected with a corporate board of directors in some way and think that board would benefit from having a veteran crisis management pro amongst its membership, please contact me. -- Jonathan


Want a Free Crisis Management Training Program?


Attention corporate trainers and college professors!  You can use past episodes of The Crisis Show as free and entertaining education tools.  And many of the articles in back issues of this ezine are available for the same purpose. -- Jonathan


(aka blatant self-promotion) 


Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training


Book Cover JPG

Reflecting a significant change in the book-selling marketplace, we have reduced the cost of this popular media training manual from $49 to $25 for the hard copy and from $29.95 to $10 for the PDF.


Visit The Crisis Manager Bookstore for more information and/or to purchase.





Manager's Guide to Crisis Management



Whether you're a seasoned manager, aspiring up-and-comer, or student of crisis management, Jonathan Bernstein's textbook, Manager's Guide to Crisis Management (McGraw-Hill, 2011) will put you in control of any situation. 






Want To Blog And Tweet About

Your Organization But Don't Have Time? 

Missing out on all the promotional and SEO advantages of doing so? Hire someone to be your voice...like Erik Bernstein, editor of Crisis Manager.


More info:erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



Guest authors are very welcome to submit material for "Crisis Manager." There is no fee paid, but most guest authors have reported receiving business inquiries as a result of appearing in this publication. Case histories, experience-based lessons, commentary on current news events and editorial opinion are all eligible for consideration. Submission is not a guarantee of acceptance.



JB NewErik Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is both publisher of Crisis Manager and president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting.

Write to Jonathan at: jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.

Erik Bernstein is editor of Crisis Manager and is also Social Media Manager for Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

Write to Erik at: erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



All information contained herein is obtained by Jonathan Bernstein from sources believed by Jonathan Bernstein to be accurate and reliable.

Because of the possibility of human and mechanical error as well as other factors, neither Jonathan Bernstein nor Bernstein Crisis Management is responsible for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Bernstein Crisis Management and Jonathan Bernstein make no representations and disclaim all express, implied, and statutory warranties of any kind to the user and/or any third party including, without limitation, warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose.

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A service of this newsletter is to provide news summaries and/or snippets to readers. In such instances articles and/or snippets will be reprinted as they are received from the originating party or as they are displayed on the originating website or in the original article. As we do not write the news, we merely point readers to it, under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever due to the distribution of said news articles or snippets that lead readers to a full article on a news service's website, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Authors of the original news story and their publications shall be exclusively held liable. Any corrections to news stories are not mandatory and shall be printed at the discretion of the list moderator after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

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