“I work with the wrongly accused,” he [Dan Hill, president of the D.C. communications firm Ervin/Hill Strategy] says, as well as “people who know they made a mistake and want to fix it, and others that see a mistake on the horizon that might become public and want to make sure they handle it the right way.”
But Hill says most clients who first come for his aid fall into one big category: the drowning victim, panicked and flailing for help. Often his first advice to them is to breathe, literally.
“We’ve all experienced the anxiety of making a mistake,” he says. “Few of us have felt having that mistake broadcast to hundreds of millions of people and how that makes you feel.”
Deen seemed to be drowning in her own tears by the end of her appearance on NBC’s Today show, her first public interview after controversy erupted over her using the N-word.
Hill says there’s no silver bullet to fix Deen’s situation.
“I think I’m one of the best in my field. I can’t help her get out of this in a week,” he says. “This is the kind of thing that will maybe take years — decades — for her to overcome.”
The timing for recovery from a race-related controversy is especially tricky, Hill says, because “it has to do with your character, your values, and your belief systems.”
Paula Deen’s situation is a “yes, but” because it’s all taken completely out of context. You must read the deposition that all of this is coming from — the whole thing. Google it.
There’s no question that she did not handle this well. At all. But it’s low-hanging fruit for the 24/7/365 media machine, so why not? Why not talk about Paula Deen and butter and grits and saying the N-word instead of talking about substantive news? You know, like climate change or Syria or DOMA or how many Congressional representatives Monsanto has on its payroll.