What Were They Thinking?: Crisis Communication: The Good, the Bad, and the Totally Clueless

Hardcover (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/25/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 91%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $6.68   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   


Some corporations spend millions of dollars on so-called "crisis communication plans." Others offer lip service, avoiding the subject like the plague. They simply hope for the best, praying that they never face a crisis. Either way, as Steve Adubato says, "Wishful thinking is no substitute for a strategic plan."

Nationally recognized communication coach and four-time Emmy Awardûwinning broadcaster Steve Adubato has been teaching, writing, and thinking about comm¡unication, leadership, and crisis communication for nearly two decades. In What Were They Thinking? Adubato examines twenty-two controversial and complex public relations and media mishaps, many of which were played out in public. Among cases and people discussed are:

  • The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol scare: Perhaps the best crisis management ever
  • Don Imus: Sometimes saying "sorry" is too little too late
  • Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: Authority does not put you above questioning
  • Bill O'Reilly: Know when to stop defending yourself and save face
  • Former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman: Proof that your written words can come back to haunt you
  • Hurricane Katrina: A natural disaster that led to a larger governmental disaster
  • The Catholic Church's pedophilia scandal: Denial won't get rid of the skeletons in your closet

Arranged in short chapters detailing each case individually, the book provides a brief history of the topics and answers the questions: Who got it right? Who got it wrong? What can the rest of us learn from them?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

anchor, FOX 5 New York - Ernie Anastos
Steve is a media expert, a street-smart guy with powerful insight that makes this book so relevant for our time.
editor, The Star-Ledger - Jim Willse
Heaven forbid you should find yourself or your company with a public relations crisis on your hands. But if you do, Steve Adubato has a wealth of common sense for how to weather the storm with a minimum of damage.
host, "Morning Joe," MSNBC - Joe Scarborough
Steve Adubato is one of my favorites. He has a clear point of view and isn't afraid to share it, particularly when it comes to media issues and media coverage of important stories.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813543611
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Adubato, Ph.D. is a Rutgers University lecturer, four-time Emmy Award-winning television anchor for WNET/Channel 13 (PBS), and newspaper columnist. Steve has been an expert commentator for MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, C-Span, Court TV, the TODAY Show, and the FOX News Channel. Through his firm Stand & Deliver, Steve has provided hands-on crisis communication coaching for numerous corporations and organizations. He is also a motivational speaker and the author of two books, Speak from the Heart: Be Yourself and Get Results and Make the Connection: Improve Your Communication at Work and at Home (Rutgers University Press).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol scare - getting it right 12

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill - the invisible and clueless CEO 20

The New York Knicks - know when to fold 'em 27

Chaos in a West Virginia coal mine - "they're alive!" 38

The church's pedophilia scandal - skeletons in the closet 47

Dick Cheney - misfiring under pressure 57

The Glen Ridge rape case - "stand by our boys" 68

The death of Pat Tillman - the cover-up is always worse 79

Rudy Giuliani - a tale of two leaders 90

Christie Whitman and the EPA - coming clean on Ground Zero 104

Prudential's terror threat - the "rock" gets it right 116

Virginia Tech - a deadly delay? 126

Don Imus - "I can't get anywhere with you people" 136

Jon Corzine - getting it right ... and getting it wrong 148

Jet Blue Airways - a late-night disaster 158

The O'Reilly "factor" - knowing when to shut up 168

Taco Bell's E. coli scare - good intentions aren't enough 177

The New York Times - covering up for Jayson Blair 184

The Duke "rape" case - a rush to injustice 196

Alberto Gonzales - paying the price for playing with words 207

NFL boss Roger Goodell - scoring big points under pressure 218

FEMA falls during Katrina - talk about "clueless" 228

Notes 239

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)