Talking heads were breathless in describing this nail-bitingly close election but one thing unified this divided country: What the heck was up with Diane Sawyer? The venerable anchorwoman received the dubious honor of being the second-most talked about part of Election 2012.
The Twitterverse focused its biting sights on Sawyer, who during election coverage was described as propped on one arm, slurring her words, giggling, and making comments about the network’s dramatic music. “And Diane Sawyer declares tonight’s winner is…chardonnay!” read one Tweet. And a new Twitter handle was born: @DrunkDianeSawyer, which soon had hundreds of followers.
The network felt compelled to address the alleged brew-haha, although it’s not really clear if anything needed to be said. This seemed more like a story that grew its own momentum, proving the viral nature of social media over any real substance. “Diane’s fine – she’s exhausted,” said a representative responding to the deluge of tweets. “Diane has been up for days and she’s had many sleepless nights…..covering the hurricane and then preparing for the election broadcast.” Sounds plausible enough. This hiccup will fade if Sawyer refrains from addressing it herself. After all, Tweeters’ attention spans are only 140 characters long.
The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Diane Sawyer. One (or two) bad nights do not a long, illustrious career unmake.
The PR Takeaway: Don’t apologize, don’t explain. Sawyer’s PR rep said what was needed to deflect rumours and the rep was the right person to say it. Should Sawyer have jumped to her own defense, she would have only incriminated herself prolonging discussion and fuelling curiosity that something was not quite right. Better to keep calm, carry on and get some rest.
To see a clip of Sawyer during the election results, click here.
Should Diane Sawyer address rumors of her being drunk on air? Give us your PR Verdict!