Belicose CEO a PR Disaster; Monks Provide Lasting Inspiration

From a particularly distinguished field of PR losers, the finalists for the Force for Good PR 2007 Disaster of the Year, true infamy emerges. I hereby give you Bob Murray, a CEO spokesman for the ages, a nightmare client, wrecker of reputation and destroyer of stakeholder relations for his company.

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Murray sinks below all the others for his amazing performance in rambling press conferences on the scene of the Utah mine disaster in August in which he railed against his perceived enemies and those with different views of politics and life, including a tirade against environmentalists concerned about global warming, while hope slowly ran out on the miners trapped in Crandall Canyon. Families and friends of the miners, co-workers, members of the community and those who heard of the disaster through the news media wanted only to hear about the rescue operation and what could be done to try to save the miners’ lives.

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Murray often veered off course to lecture anyone who’d listen on his views on politics and the economy, and to stubbornly insist that an earthquake had caused the mine collapse even as scientists concluded that seismic disruptions had been caused by the massive cave-in, not vice versa.

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Murray’s act moved from tiresome to wholly inappropriate to something even worse as hope for the lives of the miners faded, and eventually he disappeared from the scene, replaced by a much more professional spokesperson. But the damage had been done. Perhaps he will exercise more restraint the next time he is called on to represent his company publicly, in the inevitable litigation to come.

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On a brighter note, we draw inspiration from the Force for Good “People of the Year” that we can only hope will far out-last Murray’s 15 minutes of infamy.

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Thousands of monks in Myanmar, formerly Burma,Burma_monks  took to the streets in September to protest repressive measures by the country’s government junta.

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On October 1, the world learned of the government’s genocidal reprisal to the monks’ courageous stand – as the bodies of thousands of the monks were dumped in the Burmese jungle. Yet, later in October, monks took to the streets again to continue their courageous protest. Standing up to pro-junta enforcers and thugs, the monks demonstrated peacefully and courageously, delivering a message of hope to the impoverished masses of Myanmar and a lesson in the power of righteous, non-violent dissent to the rest of the world in an age of suicide bombers.

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Can images and stories of the monks’ courage inspire the Mynamar people to stand up to brutal tyranny? Will the bright light the monks have shone on abuse and genocide lead to universal condemnation of the junta from the family of nations and true reform in Burma?  this is the hope of the transforming power of righteous communication. Let’s not forget the just cause of the monks, truly a force for good.

- Jon Harmon

Comments

  1. Gerry says:

    Thx for the heads up Jon – I also run an annual comp for PR disasters over at prdisasters.com, which complements my book on exactly that topic.
    Gerry

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