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"

2014 Jonathan Bernstein

Morgan v. Walmart Kicks Into Full Swing

Volume XV, Number 18

September 30, 2014    

Just a Thought  

"Anyone believing any comment is 'off the record' is 'off their rocker'."

- Anneliz Hannan
From the Editor
In late June we praised Walmart's compassionate crisis management following the incident in which one of its company trucks struck a limo containing comedian Tracy Morgan and several associates, leaving one dead. Morgan filed a negligence lawsuit against Walmart, about which the retail behemoth has remained mum, but now legal filings have made their way into public view, and it sounds like there won't be any cash handed over without a fight.

In its initial response, Walmart stated, "If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility.", and it's that if they'll be playing on. In the recently filed documents, Walmart says that Morgan's injuries were caused by "failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device", and went further to declare that, "By failing to exercise ordinary care in making use of available seatbelts, upon information and belief, plaintiffs acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs' own best interests".

Although in many corporate lawsuits the legal filings themselves go unseen, in a high-profile case every bit of information that becomes public knowledge can, and likely will, be reported. Given Walmart's reputation, and the undeniable fact that a company truck was involved in the accident, it's firmly cast in the role of villain in this story. What I'm interested in seeing is whether there will be an effort to placate the court of public opinion, or whether Walmart will simply rely on its size and momentum to see it through while fighting tooth and nail to avoid a massive payout.

- Erik


Interested in reprinting BCM articles or blog posts?
We're happy to give permission for material to be reprinted in hard copy or online!

If you find something you would like to reprint, simply submit a request to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



Our blogs on the Bernstein Crisis Management page and at the Free Management Library are full of posts covering topics from reputation management, to social media, to crisis management case studies and more. 
In this section we take look at some of the most popular posts from recent weeks: 

Taking a cue from the legendary General George S. Patton, Crisis Management Quotables...on Thinking Differently explains why it pays to have differing viewpoints when you're tackling big problems.

Another social media faux paus, UK Embassy's Twitter Gaffe was a poorly thought-out "celebration" of the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House.

A guest post from our colleague and frequent contributor Tony Jaques, Crisis Management: Through the Lens of Failure discusses Malaysian Airlines' poor crisis response, and how it's tinted stakeholder's views of everything the organization does.

In this post we share a solid Infographic: Help Monitoring Your Online Reputation. If you're not tracking your online reputation closely, now is the time to start!

Posing a question we've since seen answered, Home Depot Latest Data Breach Victim? reviewed the retailer's early crisis management efforts.

Practice and training can improve your media skills immensely, but there's no denying Some People are Media Naturals - Even at Age 5!

Lessons from Malaysia Airlines Bucket List Contest is our look at one of the most outrageously foolish social media campaigns to have ever been launched.

A second look at the hack that made headlines, Home Depot Hack Dethrones Target as Largest Data Breach reviews the situation after the announcement that Home Depot's breach was MUCH larger than initially suspected.
Apropos of Nothing

Personal reputation management check - how many devices have you left logged into LinkedIn?

Colleague Andy Russel came across some cool advice on how to easily keep tabs on where you're logged into LinkedIn, a must if you don't want to leave your profile open to editing from whoever sits down at that public computer you used for a school project/on vacation/wherever you may have been. 

To view all of the locations and devices you're signed in from, visit https://www.linkedin.com/settings/sessions

Spot a bunch you didn't know were still signed in? So did we! Below are instructions for how to set things straight:

Hover over your profile photo on the top right of your homepage and select "Privacy & Settings"


Click "See where you've logged in" in the top section under "Your active sessions."


To sign out of a session:


Click "Sign Out" to the right of the session you'd like to end, then click "Sign Out" to confirm.

To sign out of every active session (except your current one):


Click "Sign Out" of all these sessions at the top of your list.


Click "Sign Out" to confirm.


If you don't recognize some of the places you're logged in, it's time to change your password ASAP!

I enjoyed my recent participation in the University of Oregon's "Guest Executive" program so much that I would love to do more of the same at other schools that aren't TOO far a trip from my Los Angeles-area base. Over a two-day period, UO had me guest lecture/teach at four PR-related classes and make an "open to the public" speech. They covered all travel costs and a modest honorarium.  
If you can do the same, please contact me, jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Bernsteins Available to Deliver Free Guest Lectures, Q&A Sessions


Jonathan alone, or the team of Jonathan and Erik Bernstein, are available at no charge to deliver guest lectures and host Q&A sessions with college classes via Skype or Google Hangout. Our latest presentation was to Karen Freberg's social media class at the University of Louisville (shout out to any readers from the #Freberg14 crew!).


The lectures are fun for us and students, and we're more than happy to allow recording for your future use. All you need at your end is a single computer with webcam and a strong broadband connection for us to appear in your classroom in real-time.   


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



Business Announcements 

(aka blatant self-promotion) 


Preparing Candidates for C-Suite Interviews

In 2014, a client familiar with Jonathan Bernstein's media training techniques suggested that the same methods would help her husband, a candidate for a C-Suite position at several companies, be better focused and prepared for his interviews. She was right and, as he moved through the interview process, the candidate received a number of one-hour trianing sessions by Jonathan, via webcam. That candidate is now the CFO of a $23 billion company and is available as a confidential reference. 

Jonathan Bernstein is available to provide the same training to others, write jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com

Are Your Social Media Managers Crisis Trained?

A solid social media manager has quickly become a must-have for organizations of any size, and can make an immense difference by driving in customers and building your positive reputation online.

The problem is, the vast majority are simply not equipped to even identify building crises, much less take the steps necessary to cope with and mitigate the damage that can result.

That's where we come in.

Bernstein Crisis Management is now offering crisis management training for social media managers, both independent and in-house, as well as social media firms.

For an overview of our services, estimates, or more information, contact erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Traditional Social Media Training

Want to get your feet wet with social media but don't know where to start? Maybe you have accounts, but aren't sure what to post, or how to reply?

Being active on social media is a must these days, but you have to do it right. Erik Bernstein, Bernstein Crisis Management's Social Media Manager, now offers social media training sessions in person or via Skype for groups and individuals.

For questions or pricing info, please email erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Expanded Crisis Manager Bookstore 


We've recently expanded the Crisis Manager Bookstore to include offerings from esteemed colleagues like Melissa Agnes, Gerald Baron, Chris Syme and Jim Lukaszewski that cover topics from crisis communication and traditional PR to social media and cutting-edge crisis management.  We'll be adding other authors we admire in the weeks ahead. 

Visit the new Crisis Manager Bookstore to see all of the  material available now!


Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training 

Book Cover JPG

Learn how to deal with traditional or social media during a crisis in this educational and entertaining guide from

Crisis Manager publisher Jonathan Bernstein. 


$25 for hard copy, $10 for PDF.


Head to the Crisis Manager Bookstore for more information and/or to purchase.



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 will put you in control of any situation. 



Guest Authors

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.


About Us


   Erik 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 Social Media Manager/Lead Social Media Trainer for Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

Write to Erik at: erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.


Legal Disclaimer (aka the small print)

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.  


Unless due to willful tortuous misconduct or gross negligence, Jonathan Bernstein and Bernstein Crisis Management shall have no liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability), to the user and/or any third party.  


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, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages.  


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.


In This Issue
Just A Thought
Apropos of Nothing
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