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

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Overview

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?

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813543611
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 262
  • Sales rank: 819,485
  • 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).

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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

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