The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

giffordsjump The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who marked the third anniversary of the mass shooting that killed six of her constituents and left her in critical condition, with a different kind of death-defying, life-affirming act. Last Wednesday, Giffords, now heading a national gun control group with her husband, Mark Kelly, while continuing to inspire all with her painstaking, courageous rehabilitation from her injuries, paired up with a Navy SEAL for a tandem skydive over the Arizona desert. Giffords, whose injuries left her with sharply impaired speech, told an interviewer the stunt could speak for her. And what was the message? “I’m alive,” she said.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’s trying to speed away from a PR disaster. After months of denying allegations that his office intentionally caused traffic jams in a town whose mayor didn’t endorse Christie, emails surfaced this week suggesting members of the governor’s inner circle did just that. In an emergency press conference, Christie fired one staffer, distanced himself from another and described himself as blindsided and humiliated. But the PR damage to the potential presidential hopeful is done: Either he knew about the antics and lied about them, or he didn’t know but is incompetent and obtuse enough to surround himself with vindictive bullies. The question for Christie is whether this PR stain will wash out by 2016.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to Dennis Rodman, former NBA basketball star, now self-appointed envoy to North Korea. As shown in the basketball game organized by Rodman, his skills on the court still far outweigh those of the ambassador he fancies himself as being. On this latest visit, Rodman insinuated that Kenneth Bae, a political prisoner held by North Korea since 2012, did something to deserve his sentence of 15 years of hard labor. Rodman’s empty apology, made via his publicist, was that he’d been drinking – something that, were he not Kim Jong Un’s bestie, might have landed him in a position to apologize to Bae directly.

A Tough Gun-Control Act to Follow

 A Tough Gun Control Act to Follow

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Giffords and Kelly.

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her ex-astronaut husband Mark Kelly announced this week that they will lead an effort to lobby Congress for stricter gun-control laws. The couple launched their political action committee, Americans for Sensible Solutions, on the second anniversary of the mass shooting of Giffords and 18 others in a Tucson, AZ parking lot. Six people died in the 2011 attack, which was perpetrated by a mentally ill man who obtained the guns used in the shooting legally.

Giffords has a unique set of credentials for this cause. Having barely survived the shooting, she was forced to relinquish her seat in the House of Representatives. As a politician from one of the country’s most pro-gun states, she has in the past boasted of her prowess with her Glock 9mm pistol (the same model her would-be assassin used). Her husband Mark Kelly, frequently described as an American hero, is himself no stranger to ordnance, having flown U.S. Navy combat missions in the Gulf War.

The pair are making their position clear: They are not seeking to revoke US citizens’ rights to bear arms and have emphasised that the Second Amendment can co-exist with responsible gun ownership. Distancing themselves from the National Rifle Association while at the same time reaching out to “the majority of NRA members,” they have grabbed the middle ground: in favor of guns, but with more effective gun-control laws.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for Giffords and Kelly. Their impeccable credentials will make it tough for opponents to take them on publicly.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Take the middle ground and let the others do the polarizing. In any debate, when views are extreme, the winner will be the persuasive advocate who courts the majority in the middle. Publicly defending current gun policy when up against a high-profile victim and her military husband is going to require finessed PR skills. The NRA may have just found their ground taken away from them.