For ages, men gazed skyward and dreamt of going to distant planets. It’s long been a theme of science fiction. Comets were another matter. They were mysterious fireballs of ice and dust streaking through the heavens.
But this week — after a journey that began 10 years ago and stretched over 4 billion miles — a man-sized device packed with instruments set down on a 2 1/2-mile-wide comet racing at 40,000 miles per hour. Then it began sending back a treasure of data that scientists will be analyzing for decades.
It’s one of those rare events that capture the public’s imagination and catapult them to the top of the news media. The enormity is breathtaking — the time, the distance, the physics.
Life is all about perception.
The comet landing renewed hope, coming so soon after the fatal crash of a Virgin Galactic experimental spaceship and the explosion moments after blast-off of a satellite bound for the International Space Station.
When good things happen, the public is optimistic. When only bad occurs, gloom takes a heavy toll.
You see it all around you. Economics is perhaps the most sensitive barometer. You feel its every ebb and flow, and that dictates so many other decisions.
Perception is the primary tool of Crisis PR. The “facts” may be only marginally malleable. But how they’re perceived is up for grabs.
The public is cynical. It tends to believe the worst and feel superior when the powerful fall. When it’s also salacious, that’s a bonus.
For most accused, it’s a scramble. If false, deflect the allegations. If true, make a sincere mea culpa, promise to sin no more — and keep the promise. (Example of what not to do? Think former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner.)
Then there are a rare few who seem above it all. They’ve built up so much goodwill over so long.
Like Bill Cosby, one of television’s most beloved actors. Allegations recently resurfaced that he sexually assaulted a number of women decades ago.
True? Untrue? You’ll never know.
But one longtime fan summed up the reaction of many: “I don’t care what they say. He’s Bill Cosby.”
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Preparation & Training. You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.
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