Jun 09

A tale of two crises

This is a tale of two crises. One was handled flawlessly. The other was badly bungled.

The first dominated yesterday's PR news world and concerned the ill-advised attempt by Delta Airlines to charge returning Afghanistan veterans $200 for their extra bags. Ugh.

A social media savvy vet captured the unfortunate and oh-so-unnecessary airport confrontation between the vets and the “Sorry sir, but rules are rules” airline worker. He posted the video on YouTube and it spread faster than Anthony Weiner's nude pics.

In the blink of an eye, Delta suddenly had a 747-sized crisis on its hands. But, that's when the airline turned on the after burners, fastened the seat belts and weathered the increasingly bumpy ride. A Delta blogger, identified only as Rachael R (is Rachael Ray moonlighting?)  quickly posted an apology AND announced an immediate change in the airline's baggage policy for traveling U.S. military personnel. A simple, yet brilliant move. Crisis averted. Delta and the vets can move on. And, Rachael R. can get back to her cooking.

Now, compare Delta's response with the Bank of America's incredibly, ham-fisted mishandling of a Florida couple's mortgage payment.

Warren and Maureen Nyerges had purchased their foreclosed home outright.   However, while on a foreclosure frenzy, BofA decided the property’s foreclosure was still in force and past due.  So, the bank went on with their foreclosure on the hapless Nyerges. With no other recourse, they hired a savvy lawyer who turned the tables on the bank in a brilliant legal maneuver that would impress even the legendary Mike Lasky of Davis & Gilbert fame.

The couple's lawyer proved the home was free and clear and demanded the bank pay their $2,500 legal fees. BofA refused. So, get this, the lawyer got a court order to go to the local bank branch and take possession of their furniture. Ya gotta love it!

Sheriff deputies and a moving van showed up at the bank. But, the brain-dead BofA branch manager STILL wouldn't comply. It took a full hour before he finally gave Mr. & Mrs. Nyerges a check for $5,772.88 as restitution. This local news clip below is a MUST SEE and should be included in any crisis planning workshop.


Did BofA issue an explanation, an apology or announce a change in their foreclosure policy? Nope. There wasn't even a peep from the massive financial institution.

So, here's an idea. Since BofA has shown itself so inept at managing crisis communications, why not outsource the function to the Delta Airlines team? I'm sure the ailing airline could use the incremental income and Bank of America desperately needs competent PR counsel. Hey, maybe BofA can even convince Delta's Rachael R. to cook the Nyerges a special 'forgiveness meal.'

May 16

From gold standard to sub standard

Johnson-And-R_jpg_600x345_crop-smart_upscale_q85Rather than crafting just another blog castigating Burson for its catastrophic mishandling of the  Facebook crisis, I thought I'd instead reflect on a delicious irony that seems to have gotten lost in the fray. I refer to the positively karma-like timing of the Burson crisis and the latest in a long-line of product recalls that have decimated the image of its one-time client, Johnson & Johnson.

Some 30 years ago J&J's executives, in partnership with a Burson team led by the legendary Al Tortorella, literally wrote the crisis communications handbook when consumers started dropping like flies after ingesting arsenic-tainted Tylenol tablets. They did everything right. The corporation's CEO was front and center in any and all interviews. He apologized for the mortal mistake. He grieved right along with the affected families. He even yanked ALL Tylenol products off every single store shelf. That decision was unexpected, unprecedented and unbelievably gutsy. It was also the right thing to do and it became the gold standard against which all future crisis responses were judged.

Now, juxtapose what Tortorella & team did then with what Burson, in particular, isn't doing today. Burson has delayed, obfuscated and issued terse, impersonal statements. Perhaps, most importantly, they haven't apologized for their mistakes. I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that neither Burson, nor its erstwhile client, will be setting any new, gold standards in their management of these latter-day crises. Both are, instead, now textbook examples of how NOT to manage a crisis.

I don't know Mark Penn and his senior Burson lieutenants, so I can't comment on what they knew or when they knew it. But, their post crisis communications has been abysmal at best. One wonders why they didn't just give Al Tortorella a call?

I won't lose any sleep over Burson's blues, but I am genuinely sad for Harold Burson. He's a great man who built a great firm that was once populated by great people. He deserves much better than this.

May 11

Ten days to go!

Harold-campingAccording to Bible scholar and Family Radio personality Harold Camping, Judgement Day will occur  on May 21, 2011. (Note: Harold & Co. spell judgment with an “e” so RepMan is compelled to honor their mistake. But me wonders if their math is off too…?) That's right. We have 10 days until “The Rapture” begins. But, don't sweat it too much. May 21 may be Judgement Day but, says Camping, we have until October 21, 2011, before God actually destroys the entire earth. Whew. That was a little too close for comfort.

Camping bases his calculations solely on God's predetermined time line. That's the one that began when 'He' created the world in 11,013 B.C. and will come crashing down this coming October 21st (and, isn't it a real bummer that He couldn't wait until AFTER Halloween to end things? There's nothing merciful about this god).

As proof that the end is well nigh on hand, Camping cites such “biblical prophecies” come true as:

– the complete degradation of the Christian Church (I'll grant you that Catholics have, in fact, done a superb job of completely mucking things up, but who has any image issues with Methodists, Unitarians or other Christian sects?)
– the complete breakdown of society (I'll give Camping this one. 'Jersey Shore' was, in fact, the final sign that society had gone to hell in a handbasket)
– the rise of the national state of Israel in 1948 (OK. So?)
– the rise of Gay pride (this is starting to sound like the Bill O'Reilly Show).

Camping says Judgement Day will kick off with a catastrophic earthquake (Wait. Didn't that just happen in Japan?). Based upon the description Brother Camping provides though, this does sound like the mother of all earthquakes. It will “open every grave in the world and only true believers will rise to heaven.” Non-believers will chill with earthquake survivors and await the actual end of days on October 21. At least that still gives them a full summer's worth of tanning and jet-skiing. I take back my crack about His being unmerciful.

I must admit to being at a loss as to what to do in my final 10 days. Should I learn to play acoustic guitar? Nah, not enough time. Foreign language? Ditto. Ten days does not a language master make. Hey, I know, maybe I'll set my sights on stealing away a client from a large holding company. I guarantee there's a client out there right this second who's had it up to here with her account team's constant turnover, the agency's exorbitant billing and its minimal results. And, winning a $1 million account in the next 10 days would certainly qualify as my definition of rapture.

What about you? Suppose, just suppose, Brother Camping is right and Judgement Day WILL begin in less than two weeks. What would you want to accomplish between now and then? By the way, this whole end of days thing has to be a real impediment to funeral parlor recruiting. How do you attract the best and brightest to an industry whose end product will be jumping out of their respective caskets in a matter of hours? Talk about a dead end.

Apr 11

“Let’s see, 11 fatalities should add up to, yup, a bonus of just about $180k for each of us.”

Blood-MoneTo paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, “CEO's aren't like you and me.” How else to explain the  decision by Transocean CEO Steven Newman to split a year-end bonus pool of $898,282 with four other C-suite executives?

If the name Transocean sounds vaguely familiar, that's because they're the engineering geniuses who built the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in 2010, killed 11 people and caused the worst environmental crisis in history (think: BP oil spill).

Newman & Co. split the loot after proclaiming 2010 to “be the best year in safety performance in our company's history.” Can you imagine what the worst year must have been like?

After the bonuses were announced and an incredulous public recoiled in disgust, Newman swiftly backpedaled and cut the bonus pool to a mere $650,000. Now, that's more like it. This way, the five fat cats only pocket a little under $130k per cadaver.

As might be expected, the chief executive officer appeared suitably humbled by his heartless heavy-handedness and issued a statement (probably after being prompted to do so by his chief communications officer). He said: “The executive team made this decision (to take fewer dollars) because we believe it is the right thing to do. ”Huh? The right thing to do? How about not taking any bonus at all? How about starting a fund to pay for the college tuitions of the children of the dead workers? How about waking up to reality?

Imagine if Transocean had, say, built the World Trade Center complex or the Japanese nuclear reactors? The management team would be set for life.

Sad to say, Newman's behavior doesn't surprise me one bit. Fortune 1000 CEOs aren't like you and me. They're much closer in type to pampered, superstar athletes such as Barry Bonds, Brett Favre and Roger Clemens. They're surrounded by handlers, schedulers and sycophants, and made to believe they walk on water (a most unfortunate phrase in the case of the Transocean guys).

In fact, Newman's behavior reminds me of John Thain's whining after the crash and fall of Merrill Lynch. Despite overseeing the worst year in the Thundering Herd's history and being forced by the government to sell the firm to Bank of America, Thain still demanded a performance bonus of $25 million!

Is it any wonder the average American now lists CEOs right alongside lawyers and used car salesmen as the least respected profession?

Apr 07

The Fed’s Fireside Chats

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer, and RepChatter Co-host, Brendan Mullin.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has declared he will hold quarterly  press conferences during our current Great Recession much like President Roosevelt launched his fireside chats in March 1933 during the Great Depression. Then, FDR sought to connect with Americans to discuss complicated issues and reassure depressed countrymen that brighter days were ahead. Ironically, in his first fireside chat, FDR spoke to the nation about banking and why so many banks had failed.  Sound familiar?

Storm_fig01bBut, the question of the moment is, “Will the Fed’s modern day update on the fireside chat prove useful?”

While everyone is for more transparency – and make no mistake that is what this move is intended to symbolize – many wonder if it is enough or if it will even work.

Dow Jones managing editor Neal Lipschutz wrote recently that he believes Bernanke has the right personality to handle the pressure of open communications but wishes there would be more than just four “meet the press” moments during the year for the chief banker (note: “Fed chief” and “personality” are as closely linked as “Britney Spears” and “class”).

Others have made the argument it’s just not necessary as the Fed’s monetary policy is already parsed to extremes.  As we’ve seen the last few years in particular the markets hang on the Fed’s every word.  Will we now see wild market swings based simply on Bernanke’s non-verbals!? 

It ought to be interesting (or comical) to see the pundits analyze Bernanke’s look and style during his April 27th inaugural press conference as much as the substance on which he speaks. And, I can envision Bernanke’s flack instructing him on the eve of the press conference, “Remember Ben, dark suit, white shirt, solid tie. Oh, and be sure to sit on your coat tails.”

Kidding aside, disclosures and transparency on monetary policy and global economic realities are very serious matters. I just hope the concept – or experiment – of a “press conference” is genuinely meant to be more open about the fiscal decisions the Fed make. And yes, I’m talking about those decisions that have profound effects on the markets, and directly impact everyday citizens who, knowingly or not, are participants in the very delicate economic conditions the Fed seeks to monitor and maintain.  

Maybe Bernanke & Co. did listen to FDR’s first fireside chat and believed it when he said, “After all there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people.” As we wait for curtain to rise on Bernanke’s first press conference later this month, for Ben’s sake, let’s hope FDR was also right when he said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Get your popcorn ready. 


Apr 04

When It Comes to Cobras, the Bronx Zoo Is Asleep at the Ssswitch

Today's guest post is by Julie Farin, @JulieFarin.

By now everyone has heard about the Bronx Zoo’s baby Egyptian cobra – I’ll call her “Tina” (short Main-bronx-zoo-cobra for Serpentina) since she hasn’t been given a proper name yet – who went hissing and missing in the Reptile House last week and went on to become an overnight media sssensation. 

The story became national news – not because of any concerted effort by the Bronx Zoo – but because of an anonymous Twitter user who set up an account as @BronxZoosCobra, cleverly issuing snarky tweets about the pencil thin 20-inch, 3-oz. slitherer’s adventures “out on the town” after her great Madagascar-esque escape.  For example, on March 30th she tweeted: “Does anyone know if the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle sells organic mice?” and “Getting on the ferry to Ellis Island.  Let's hope this goes better than that time on the plane. #snakeonthetown

After the Twitter page was featured on local NY television newscasts and in NY newspapers, @BronxZoosCobra snared more than 200,000 followers (including Mayor Bloomberg) in less than a week.  Soon after, Café Press and other web sites jumped on the marketing bandwagon selling cobra T-shirts, mugs, and other souvenirs capitalizing on the forked-tongued slinker’s new-found celebrity (http://www.cafepress.com/+bronx-zoo-cobra+mugs).

This tremendous PR and marketing opportunity fell smack onto the Bronx Zoo’s doorsteps. It has the potential to do for the Zoo what Night at the Museum did for the American Museum of Natural History. I envisioned a paparazzi-filled press conference complete with a Bronx Zoo/Save the Cobra logo emblazoned on a step-and-repeat once the cobra was safely captured, where the Mayor and zoo officials donning cobra T-shirts would encourage visitors to meet the snake in-person (or should I say, “in-serpent”) once she fully recuperated. 

Her instant fame could be used as a unique fundraising tool for the Zoo by spotlighting her as the star attraction (think San Diego Zoo pandas) and a must-see destination for tourists and New Yorkers alike.  The NYC Convention & Visitors Bureau could even create weekend packages featuring a visit to the Bronx Zoo.  The cobra’s celebrity could also serve as an opportunity to educate the public by clearing up any misconceptions about the proper care and feeding of snakes as house pets.  (And, let’s face it, ever since that whole Adam & Eve incident back in the Garden, these belly-walkers could really use some positive PR.). 

Instead, Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny announced in a rather uninspired manner that the snake had been found…coiled up in a darkened corner of the Reptile House (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgjkPuxLuQY).
He deflected any endorsement of the Twitterer who had helped make the cobra (and his Zoo) a national story, and did not specify when the Reptile House would re-open.  However, he did say that the former fanged fugitive was nameless, and that they may consider a “name the snake” contest in the future (the NY Post and NY Daily News were already all over this, so the Zoo finally decided to partner with the Daily News for this contest).

In the meantime, @BronxZoosCobra is still tweeting in captivity (#freethebronxzooscobra), and even managed to hijack both RyanSeacrest’s Twitter account and web site on April Fool’s Day, which is only serving to make this satirical writer more sought-after…if we ever figure out the snake behind it.

RepMan readers: What name would YOU give the baby Bronx Zoo Cobra?  Remember, she’s Egyptian, yet a native New Yorker…and also has some boundary issues.  The most creative name submitted wins a (slightly-used) Prince William & Kate mug direct from the UK.

Mar 24

In a modern crisis, a full page print ad is as relevant as yesterday’s news

JournalNews_Ad_Japan_LetterRunning a full page print advertisement in The Wall Street Journal or New York Times used to be   part and parcel of any serious crisis response plan. The ad provided the chief executive officer of the company in crisis with an unfettered opportunity to tell his side of the story without any editorial interpretation from media, pundits or the average Joe.

But, those days are dead. They died when social media made each of us a citizen journalist. They died when CEOs such as Dennis Kozlowski, Jeff Skilling and Bernie Ebbers stole millions of dollars from their organizations. They died when once respected brands such as Johnson & Johnson, BP and Toyota were caught covering up their transgressions.

Nowadays, full-page print ads signed by the CEO of a company in crisis make me cringe. Take the one penned by J. Wayne Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer of Entergy Corporation (insert ad).

Petrified that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's call for a review of the Indian Point nuclear energy plant by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will result in its closing (and, possibly the closing of other Entergy-run nuke plants,) Leonard lists reason after reason why his Indian Point facility is safe.

Sorry, Mr. Leonard. But, I don't buy it. And, I doubt anyone else does either. That's because, like print advertising itself, Fortune 500 CEOs have little, if any, street cred.

Americans trust word of mouth. They trust family and friends. They trust influencers such as "Consumer Reports," J.D. Power & Associates and The Good Housekeeping Seal. But, they no longer believe the inside-out, top down 'C-suite speak' one finds in a paid print advertisement.

If I were advising Leonard, I'd suggest a much different approach. I'd begin by enlisting credible, third party ambassadors who do believe that next generation nuclear power plants are safe. This group could range from academics and authors to bloggers and informed individuals without a personal or political agenda (does such an animal still exist?). I'd provide these trusted sources with my facts and figures and encourage them to speak on my behalf (knowing that I couldn't control what they eventually write or say but understanding that's what makes their voice so much more compelling than mine).

I'd reach out to my employees and assure them they're not earning paychecks from an evil corporation that's building and maintaining death traps. I'd provide them with messages they, in turn, could share with their family and friends.

I'd also engage in face-to-face community relations in each and every market where my nuke plants are located. I'd hold town hall meetings and invite local leaders, activists, employees and the average Joe to attend and share their concerns.

There are probably other, even smarter strategies Leonard & Co., should employ. But, relying on a paid, full-page ad in the Times is not only old school crisis management, it's counter-productive. It's changed my mind from neutral to skeptical. And, that dear readers, is why smart public relations is the new king of the integrated marketing mix. When it comes to credibility, PR trumps advertising each and every time.

Mar 11

A terminal case of the slows

When asked why he fired George B. McClellan for the SECOND time as commander-in-chief of the   Army of the Potomac, President Abraham Lincoln said, "Because he has a terminal case of the slows." McClellan was a great administrator and organizer, but he lacked the stomach for warfare.

Editorial_20100403After reading about the latest Catholic Church disgrace in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, I reached the exact, same conclusion about Cardinal Justin Rigali.

Here's why. Back in early February, a Philly grand jury found that no fewer than 37 priests, who had been accused or suspected of misbehavior with children, were STILL serving in the ministry. That's enough men to field three football squads, four baseball teams or SEVEN basketball franchises (heck, the latter would constitute an entire division). 

Now, get this: one month after the grand jury report, the archdiocese placed only 21 of the 37 priests on 'administrative leave.' That means:

A) All 37 accused molesters were running amok for a full month and…

B) Even worse, another 16 continue to have free and unfettered access to their unsuspecting flocks.

The good cardinal was quoted as saying, “I know that for many people their trust in the Church has been shaken.” Ha! Is he kidding? “Been' shaken?” My trust was shaken, stirred and completely shattered years ago.

Responding to Cardinal Rigali's decision to allow 16 of the accused clergy to continue their 'alleged' wanton ways, the grand jury said, “We understand the accusations are not proof, but we cannot understand the Archdiocese's apparent absence of any sense of urgency.”

I can understand it. Just as police departments boast of a thin blue line that closes ranks when one of its members is accused of wrongdoing, the Catholic Church has a thin line of either black or red hue (depending upon whether the cover-up is led by a priest or cardinal).

I'd like to believe if Abraham Lincoln were still alive and had the authority, he'd sack Rigali for his terminal case of the slows. And, he'd also boot the 37 offenders out of the priesthood faster than you can say “Gettysburg Address.”

When it comes to worst practices for image and reputation management, the Catholic Church is in a league of its own. The Philadelphia scandal is neither shocking nor unexpected. It's just more of the same old, same old.

And, sad to say, there will be many more scandals until, and unless, the Church addresses the issue of celibacy. But, that's another issue for another blog.

Until the Church is able to find a U.S. Grant-type to fill the papal role, they'll be stuck with George McClellan types such as Benedict XVI and Cardinal Rigali who delay, deny and obfuscate without ever acknowledging the system itself is broken.

A tip o' RepMan's hat to LunchBoy for suggesting this post.

Jan 20

What would Lincoln have done?

Believing that President Obama’s speech in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings was quite possibly his best moment to date, I decided to ask an historian-in-the-making how other past presidents might have handled the very same situation. The following guest blog is authored by Chris ‘Repman, Jr.’ Cody, who is pursuing his master’s degree in history at Northeastern University.

ObamaLincolnMatted The recent shootings in Arizona, and subsequent heated political discourse, have led me to reflect on how past presidents might have handled the same crisis.  Having taken a deep dive into each and every one of our 43 presidents, here’s how I think a few might have reacted (Rep, Sr. Note: Grover Cleveland held two, non-consecutive terms so, technically, Obama is 43 and ‘43’ was 42. That, in turn, would make ‘41’ 40, but something tells me this might be too complex an issue for the Bushes to figure out):

Thomas Jefferson would have publicly denounced the shootings, but would have tempered his remarks based upon the violent world in which he lived (i.e. his vice-president, Aaron Burr, killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel).

Franklin Pierce would most likely have shrugged his shoulders and said absolutely nothing (as he did when outspoken Abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner was beaten with a cane by a Southerner on the Senate floor in 1856).

James Buchanan would have kept mum, taking no decisive action whatsoever. The only bachelor president was notorious for saying and doing absolutely nothing as our antebellum country was coming apart at the seams.

Abraham Lincoln would have risen to the occasion and, undoubtedly, delivered a speech comparable to the Gettysburg Address in both its brevity and magnitude. 

Teddy Roosevelt (despite being the benefactor of McKinley's assassination) would have denounced the Tucson shootings.  But, in doing so, he would have firmly reinforced the importance of the Second Amendment. Despite being our first, great environmentalist, T.R. was also an avid hunter, killing thousands of animals during his lifetime. There’d be no call for gun control from the man who spoke softly but carried a big stick.

Of these five examples, it seems clear that President Obama followed Lincoln's lead.  Obama's speech, and its conciliatory overtones, has been hailed by many as his greatest moment.  This may indeed be the case.  However, I think it's worth pointing out that the only truly unifying events in our nation’s long history have been outwardly-focused. Consider this:  The Mexican-American War united Southerners and Northerners alike in a military action that delayed the Civil War by a few decades.  Similarly, the Spanish-American War served as a catalyst in mending post-Civil War animosities by again bringing the North and South together in an outward-facing cause. 

Our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are anything but unifying.  So, do we need another Mexican-American War to end the fratricidal fighting in our country?  There certainly seems to be one brewing.  But the James K. Polk approach, in which we invaded Mexico while proclaiming "manifest destiny," would never work today.  Cross border, Pancho Villa-like incursions by the Mexican drug cartels are another story, though.  If such incidents were to occur in significant numbers, I could see our country becoming united again in the same way it was following 9/11.

One must accept that, from a historical standpoint, assassination is as American as baseball and apple pie. And, political discourse in a democracy will always be divisive (except during those rare moments of unity a la Pearl Harbor).  True unity will only occur when it is ignited by a perceived threat beyond our borders.  That doesn’t mean Obama has no influence to bring us together.  Indeed, there is a right and wrong way to lead.  I agree with Rep Sr. that Obama's post-Tucson remarks were the correct strategy for mitigating any further escalation of hate talk in America.

Jan 10

The ultimate ambush interview

Every public relations professional fears the ambush interview. For the uninitiated, an ambush An_2_Apache_Ambush__1892_gouache_henry_farney_cowboy_weste interview is exactly what the phrase implies: a television ‘journalist’ ambushes an unsuspecting subject and makes him or her look very foolish, frightened or fraudulent in the process. And, if the genre has a founding father, it would have to be Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” fame.

I raise the ambush interview issue for two very different reasons:
1.)    Despite countless individuals and organizations having been savaged by ambush interviews, self-congratulatory, inward-focused and Kool-Aid drinking CEOs continue to put themselves in harm’s way by requesting off-the-record briefings in order to tell their side of the story in the midst of crisis. CEOs are best advised not to do so unless they’ve anticipated every conceivable negative question and have ironclad responses in hand.
2.)    I’ve just finished reading “The Kennedy Detail.” It’s written by one of the surviving members of the Secret Service detail entrusted with President John F. Kennedy’s safety and security, and is intended to set the record straight, once and for all. As something of a Kennedy assassination buff, I thought I knew all there was to know about the sad event. But, I did not. And, I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in learning more about November 22, 1963.

Near the end of the book, there’s a fascinating chapter about Clint Hill, who had been assigned to Mrs. Kennedy’s Secret Service detail. He was the agent who climbed aboard the president’s limousine just seconds after JFK had been mortally wounded. Twelve years after the shootings, Hill was invited to appear on 60 Minutes by Mike Wallace.

Hill agreed to do so only if Wallace promised not to probe into the details of the assassination. Wallace readily agreed and said he was really only looking to do a profile of the Secret Service itself. And, Wallace was true to word. The taping went well. Wallace asked Agent Hill about Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, and the role of the Secret Service.

Then, a few days later, Wallace called Hill up and said there’d been a problem with one small section of the taping. He asked “Secret Service Agent #9” if he’d mind re-taping about five minutes of it. Hill agreed.

Now, double click on this link and watch what Wallace did to Hill: Hill-limo Mike Wallace Clint Hill 1975 "60 Minutes" Interview.

The media perform a valuable service in a free society. But, journalists such as Wallace are to be feared. His gotcha style of gonzo journalism devastated Hill, and exacerbated the agent’s downward spiral towards alcoholism and depression.

CEOs and their counselors would be well advised to watch the Secret Service Agent #9 clip before they decide to sit down for their next interview. The image and reputation they save may be their own.

Thanks and a special tip o’ RepMan’s climbing helmet to Edward M. Ted “Conspiracy Theory” Birkhahn for sending me the Clint Hill link.