Is 'Dr. Death' Jack Kevorkian's image beyond repair? And what would you do ...

'This is an interesting PR challenge because people tend to have very strong opinions about this controversial topic. Some think Dr. Kevorkian is wonderful; of course, there are others who think he is the devil incarnate.

'This is an interesting PR challenge because people tend to have very strong opinions about this controversial topic. Some think Dr. Kevorkian is wonderful; of course, there are others who think he is the devil incarnate.

The issue of assisted suicide ties closely to core beliefs - in terms of religion and people's freedom of choice. As a result, it's much harder to sway opinions one way or the other. That said, if he were our client tomorrow, we would implement strategies that would at least give his opponents pause. For example, we would identify respected third-party spokesperson advocates from unexpected camps to lend support - such as hospitals, health organizations or church groups. We would also seek to gain vocal endorsements from the families he has helped, to further 'humanize' the issue. Last, but not least, we would highlight the more conventional facts of Dr. Kevorkian's medical background: his roots, education and practice before he became so controversial. This would add depth to people's understanding of the man and make him less of a pariah.'

Jodi Shelton
Shelton Communications Group

'It's hard to fault Dr. Kevorkian. His main objective is to promote the discussion and legalization of assisted suicide - an issue which has been very much in the public forefront as of late. His actions may be more extreme than others who attempt to bring the issue into the limelight, but his image is exactly what he wants it to be. Whether or not you agree with him, Kevorkian is certainly proactive in his approach. Through a series of high-profile actions, he has pushed assisted suicide into public policy debate. In the process, he has become extremely famous for it.

Although others question the morality and ethics of his actions, he has propelled the debate to where he feels it needs to be. Therefore, I do not believe Kevorkian is likely to want to change his image.'

Alan Hirsch
G+A Communications

'Dr. Kevorkian doesn't need image tampering. He is what he wants to be: a doctor who has participated openly in many requested mercy killings and then talked about it. Terminally ill people who are suffering greatly are within their rights to determine when the suffering should stop. For some of these people, Dr. Kevorkian is a godsend and his image is on target for advocates of physician-assisted euthanasia. By popularizing his beliefs - on 60 Minutes, for example - he is really no different than those who proselytize abortion, capital punishment and war. All have their place under certain conditions.'.

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