PR pros discuss Spitzer's actions, options

NEW YORK: No PR professional could do much to reverse the crisis Eliot Spitzer has created for himself, but that doesn't mean lots of PR pros aren't talking about the way the governor and his communications team has handled the issue so far.

NEW YORK: No PR professional could do much to reverse the crisis Eliot Spitzer has created for himself, but that doesn't mean lots of PR pros aren't talking about the way the governor and his communications team has handled the issue so far.

As one NY public affairs executive told me, a serious PR misstep occurred with the 45-minute delay between the scheduled 2:15 pm press conference by the governor yesterday and when he actually showed up at the podium. This left a big gap in airtime that news commentators filled with all sort of impromptu comment about Spitzer's actions and his future.

“The notion that they called a press conference for 2:15 and allowed the news media to fill a gap with 45 minutes with wild speculation – that's bad PR,” the exec noted.

But who knows what caused that delay and if it were preventable? Perhaps Spitzer and his wife were arguing about her appearance by her side. Which raises another question that another executive at a DC firm who previously worked in New York state politics raised with me – Why do these disgraced politicians, including former Gov. McGreevy of New Jersey, keep dragging their humiliated wives on stage to half-confess their wrongdoings.

“They should just get up there by themselves for a change and say what they did wrong,” this exec told me. “Instead Spitzer got up and didn't really say anything.

But one DC public affairs veteran thinks Spitzer can find no strategy to deploy. His comments are below:

“This is no time to be considering a crisis communications plan for Eliot Spitzer. He is toast politically and morally No one is going to buy him eating humble pie,” said Wes Pedersen, principal, Wes Pedersen Communications and Public Relations, via e-mail. “His sanctimony, his delight in punishing those he deemed guilty of various crimes, and his failure to resign immediately after his dalliance was revealed...everything demands his head on a platter.”

“Any PR person with integrity would tell him to… confess all (yes, there is almost certainly more), and leave office immediately,” Pedersen said. “PR cannot save his political career now. Anyone in PR who pretends there is a way to mend this reputation is in professional denial.”

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