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June 14, 2010

SEITEL: OBAMA RESPONSE SMACKS
OF 'DESPERATE PRESIDENT'

 

By Greg Hazley

PR consultant and O'Dwyer's columnist Fraser Seitel told FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto that President Barack Obama's criticism of BP "smacks of the last refuge of a desperate president."

Seitel acknowledged BP CEO Tony Hayward's misstatements, but said the company has been working to make amends and defended its response to the oil spill crisis. He thinks the president is just following public outrage to mounting a PR response.

"What he's doing now is pandering to the crowd; it makes no sense," he said. "The thing to do is say, 'Look, these people have made mistakes. We're going to get along with them and get this done.' That's the high road. He hasn't taken it."

 
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Responses:
 

Mike Paul, the Reputation Doctor, MGP & Associates PR (6/17):
Fraser:

I have to disagree with you on this one. Obama's criticism of BP is right on the mark politically and will gain him a rebound in the U.S. in the near future.

Also, the rules have changed drastically regarding corporate crises as public as this one. BP's communications strategy within the first 30 days was lead by their legal division and included hubris filled gaffes by an un-media trained global CEO. This comments were text book examples of what NOT to do.

Yes, BP is on the ground and trying to take responsibility, but the leak continues and we get to view it 24 hours a day now for almost 2 months straight and oil continues to hit beaches, marshes and kill wildlife and ruin beach season and many businesses, especially in fishing and tourism are suffering big time. Saying things will come and doing the right thing now are two very different things. Speed with excellence is your friend in a crisis.

Also, the cultural divide between BP as a UK based company and harm done not in the Queen's backyard, but in our already-fragile Gulf coast backyard will continue to grow. Look for protests to cross the pond and happen also at BP's UK HQ.

And as the spill hits Hurricane season and spreads rapidly and hits the Gulf stream up the East coast and hits new towns and states, the anger will only grow, especially if the leak is not stopped completely within the next 60 days.

The building blocks or bricks of an excellent reputation include truth, honesty, transparency, accountability, humility and consistency. BP can learn from the list above.

Joe Honick, GMA International Ltd (6/18):
Mike Paul makes sense here, as usual. The fascinating contradictions are mostly emphasized because the right wing wants government to stay the hell out of the way and let business do its business. But when we have business disasters like this, the right wants to know how government will come to the rescue. Precisely what are all the business folks who want governmentout of the way doing to fix the disaster? All the king's men and all the kings PR horses cannot alter what has occurred and those folks have no cures either to recommend.


 
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