Heritage went all in with the far right when it made Jim DeMint its leader and lost whatever credibility it might have had.
The damage is already done and no high powered PR firm can help Heritage now. By using the far right wing fringe researcher Jason Richwine to do much of the work on the immigration study, Heritage has irreparably tainted the findings. It has been widely reported already that Richwine was the racist researcher and author who claimed (and presumably still claims) that Hispanics are less intelligent than whites. Bottom-line, Jim DeMint has blown a massive hole in his and Heritage's foot. He has ruined his and Heritage's reputation with a big part of the public and also with influential Republicans who have already discredited this report,
The profile that matters most is not the PR firm's but the foundation's. The PR job is to communicate not "we're sorry," an abject apology that diminishes public esteem for the foundation.
The job is to communicate "we tried too hard to protect the public on this issue. Instead of saying how much it WOULD cost the public, we should have said how much it COULD cost, and it could, and some experts think the cost could be even higher than we estimated."
The most important thing is for the public and the government to understand that some well-meaning proposals could cost the public trillions of dollars more than the public can afford--and that Heritage is on the side of the public."
The abject apology option reduces respect for Heritage but respect may instead rise if the Heritage response emphasizes desire to protect the public and that the public deserves the protection.
"Many Americans--born here or lawful immigrants--are already short of money," Heritage can say, and this may go over with the public a lot more than "we're sorry."
J.C. Penney faces this kind of situation. Some say the company should say "we're sorry" or "we made a mistake" in dropping the sales and coupons. But judge whether it could bring in a whole lot more business for the message to the public to be: "YOU WIN! You wanted
sales and coupons, the last president cut down on them but now I'm president and you win! Your sales and coupons from J.C. Penney are here again for you to enjoy and save."
A crisis is not just a danger but can creates media coverage that is an opportunity for gain.