Editorial: The people versus the rule book

President Clinton’s love affair with the camera seems to have survived this latest ’rocky patch’. Despite the hype, the video of his testimony released this week proved an anti-climax. While not Clinton’s most polished media performance, the broadcast failed to deliver the loss of control and raging hypocrisy anticipated.

President Clinton’s love affair with the camera seems to have

survived this latest ’rocky patch’. Despite the hype, the video of his

testimony released this week proved an anti-climax. While not Clinton’s

most polished media performance, the broadcast failed to deliver the

loss of control and raging hypocrisy anticipated.



The high point of his testimony, in PR terms, had to be the affection

with which he occasionally discussed the relationship. This factor alone

probably accounts for the six per cent rise in Clinton’s approval rating

following the broadcast. The low point was his ill-advised insistence on

sticking to the letter of the law with regards to the finer points of

his dalliance with Miss Lewinsky.



The relationship between the law and PR has never been an easy one and,

too often, lawyers and PR professionals battle it out in crisis

management war rooms, over degrees of admission of guilt. Clinton’s

position may be legally defensible, but in this case the gap between the

fine line of the law and public perception is an abyss.



Lawyers’ caution may solve the short term problem, but insensitivity to

public opinion, can seriously undermine the long term health of an

organisation’s, or even a president’s, reputation.



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