Guess Who Confessed To Hacking Again?

Phone hacking1 Guess Who Confessed To Hacking Again?

The PR Verdict: "F" for Murdoch and public interest

Fancy that!  BSKYB the television broadcaster has fessed up to phone hacking.  Is the latest revelation from another Murdoch controlled news organization all that surprising?

Besides being astonishingly embarrassing for Murdoch, it follows on the heels of his son James’s resignation from BSKYB and increases scrutiny on a proprietor who has broken his trust with the public.  The circumstances of the cases were detailed by BSKYB,  who while acknowledging that hacking was illegal, said it was authorized by the News Editor to benefit the public interest.  SKY thundered this illegal act was only done under strict rules and for a specific purpose.  No need for us to worry then.

Next time it may be less of a hassle to simply hand over the file to the police to avoid these sorts of problems.

The PR Verdict: “F” for Murdoch (yet again) and his newly found PR strategy of claiming protection by way of public interest.  Is there any thing else to confess while we are here?

Cloaking the issue in the mantle of public interest has inherent risks.  Since when has society broadly consented to giving editors carte blanche to break the law?  Without defining the “public interest” served in this case, the waters are now muddied.  Why not simply say they were all errors of judgment?  Far simpler given the pattern and volume across Murdoch based businesses.

To read more click here.

What is your verdict? Is claiming the public interest a good PR strategy?

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Why Are Rebekah And Her Friends Still In Trouble?

rebekahbrooks 300x168 Why Are Rebekah And Her Friends Still In Trouble?

The PR Verdict: “F” for a crisis strategy that is failing.

Rebekah Brooks, former CEO of News International and best buddy of Rupert and James Murdoch has been arrested for the second time.  Previously arrested last year, she is hitting the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. This time speculation is that the arrest concerns a charge of perverting the course of justice. Tough times ahead.

Despite endless protests from News International denying knowledge of widespread phone hacking and corruption of public officials, the arrests proceed and the parliamentary inquiry deepens. Public rage continues unabated.

In terms of crisis management, the hacking scandal was always a PR issue first and foremost.  Prioritising legal concerns over PR has been the major blunder.  As it happens things are looking bad on the legal front anyway.

The PR Verdict: “F” for a crisis management strategy that is failing.   Is it possible that News International’s ordeal might have been shorter-lived if PR concerns had driven and shaped the crisis strategy, with legal concerns in second place?

Pubic and political pressures have a nasty habit of taking a crisis in surprising directions.  What might have happened if News International had conceded wrongdoing and made amends at the outset?  The closing of News of the World, millions paid out in damages, the BSKYB acquisition blocked and multiple staff arrests could hardly be described as a strategic success.  It might have been wiser to take an earlier hit with a PR strategy that paid less attention to legal risk and prioritised reforming the company and closing the issue. No doubt Rebekah can tell us more in court.

To read about the latest arrests click here. To read more background about the phone hacking scandal click here.

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