Is A Scandal Real If No One Notices?

id-100190815Now is an excellent time to have a scandal. Regardless of who you voted for, we can all agree on one thing: With the media all atwitter about Donald Trump’s tweets, you now have more freedom to do bad things with less of a chance of finding yourself splashed across the front page.

So if you’re in the market for some questionable behavior (as long as it doesn’t have a timely Trump hook), get to work.

It’s typical to have a year or so of heavy political news coverage around election time, but this is one for the books. It seems that Trump is all the media can talk about (this article included). Whenever an issue so dominates the news, it leaves little airtime for other things.

It’s even better than trying to bury a negative story late Friday just before a three-day weekend.

Did you just hear something? I think it was everyone’s favorite evil cartoon billionaire Mr. Burns slowly muttering, “Excellent.”

Some lawyers must be rejoicing, too. Their clients are less likely to land in the news. Drug-fueled “work trip” in Vegas? Sexual relations with your subordinate? Embezzling funds for lavish parties and home upgrades? How about a combo plate with a little bit of everything and a cup of DUI on the side? Order up!

Hold on! A news alert just in from the New York Times. This must be important! Oh, wait. It’s only about Trump giving his review of the White House after being a resident for 5 nights — “beautiful” phones and “a lot of board rooms.” Thank goodness. We can all sleep better knowing this information.

One result of this information overload is that people are actually attempting to tune out the news entirely in hopes of peace and quiet. Some stick their fingers in their ears and chant, “La la la la la la la!” Others delete news apps or unsubscribe from news feeds.

But if Trump news ever invades into Instagram’s Caturday feed, it’s all over for the Internet.

Of course, this silver lining doesn’t apply to the actions themselves. You will still get caught. You will still need to explain yourself.

So while your chances are greater that things will slide under the media radar, you better think twice before exclaiming, “Carpe diem!” while streaking through your company hallways. (For all you younger readers, that’s what us old folks said before you started up with “YOLO”. We still can’t understand why you turned it into a thing, but that’s an argument for a different day.)

What do you say when you’re caught with your hand in the cookie jar?

We’re all just kids in grown-up bodies. So take a page from the childhood playbook.

“Sorry,” says the kid. (A mea culpa is a good start, but by itself it can sound hollow.)

“Sorry for what?” asks the parent. (If you’re insincere, no one will buy it. You’ll end up coming off as a kid being forced to apologize.)

“Are you going to do this again?” the parent gently prods. (You must make sure it doesn’t happen again. Anthony Weiner and his wiener aren’t getting any sympathy.)

Conversely, there is bad news for all you do-gooders out there. It’s harder to get the media to publish stories about your good works. Your achievements are going to have to hang out on the fridge with your kids’ artwork for a little while longer because they aren’t going to get ink anytime soon.


To celebrate the launch of our two books, we’ve made the Kindle version of each available for only $0.99! Check out  A Board Member’s Guide to Crisis PR and A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR (Second Edition) on Amazon.

“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.

You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.

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