Staged Fright

I shuddered as I watched yesterday’s carefully orchestrated "teleconference" between the president and a hand-picked bunch of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq. It was so awkwardly staged and so obviously pre-programmed and rehearsed that any credibility the administration might have hoped for disappeared faster than those still-missing weapons of mass destruction. Teleconference1_1

Drawing a comparison with the private sector, could you imagine a CEO carefully staging such an event and expecting employees, customers or the Street to buy it? I was working with a bunch of Fortune 500 executives yesterday, helping them with their presentation skills. We all agreed that while style was important, it was useless if the message wasn’t based on reality.

If the White House wants to enlist more support for their Iraqi initiative, then they need to do a much better job of stage managing their communications vehicles. And they need to give the American people more credit. We know honest answers when we see them. And we can see right through bogus ones. Yesterday’s staged exhibition was just plain frightful.

2 thoughts on “Staged Fright

  1. Back in August, Business Week announced that the Army would rely more on “public relations” to answer its declining recruiting numbers. The program will include 15 televised “town hall meetings” where hand-picked soldiers will tell “positive” stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    My guess… this shamefull “teleconference” is a sign of what we can expect for these local town hall meetings, too.
    Here’s that post about Army PR

  2. With Karl Rove smirking on his way out of court on this, his fourth appearance before a grand jury for charges that he leaked a CIA agent’s name, it is so clear that Bush’s “phone-home” spectacle is another distraction from his declining popularity, a costly and increasingly-proven-unnecessary war and the financial hemorrage that are Katrina and Rita.
    Just like his Top Gun landing aboard an aircraft carrier at the “end” of the war, George W has proven once again that he is a true showman.
    Unfortunately Americans are a split audience — there are those who cheer along with every one of W’s tricks, and there are those who keep drawing the curtain back to expose the Wizard for what he is.