Vines: media exaggerations fueled the fire during Ford Firestone'PR hell'

DETROIT: Looking back at a period he called 'PR hell,' Jason Vines,

Ford Motor Company VP communications, said in a Medialink-organized

Web-cast last week that the media exaggerated in-fighting between Ford

and Firestone during last year's massive tire recall.

'The media loves the sexiness of a fight,' he said, also revealing that

while Ford and Firestone worked together throughout the crisis to

replace problem tires, the relationship deteriorated. 'During late

August and into early September, when things got a little ugly, we were

working together less,' he admitted.

Vines also defended the use of CEO Jac Nasser in Ford television

commercials during the crisis. Some media watchers had called Nasser

less than effective.

'We need a face on Ford Motor Company. Who was the logical person? I'm

proud of him and I think he did a great job.'

Ford PR people put in 12-16 hour days for 12 weeks during the height of

the crisis and the work, and recall developments, took their toll on

staff, he said. When a report came in that a woman who was waiting for

replacement tires had been in an accident that injured her son, 'some of

the people on our staff were in tears,' he revealed.

Vines criticized media outlets for not checking on information leaked to

them by others. He also lambasted Congressional staffers who spoke out

during Washington hearings on the crisis, calling them 'political

science majors commenting on engineering.'

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