Former CNN Anchor Aaron Brown Sits Down for Rare Interview on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

Shaping Opinion Podcast Will Release 9 Episodes Starting September 3rd

Featuring Stories from People Who Were There

On Tuesday, September 7, 2021, former CNN lead news anchor Aaron Brown sits down with our Shaping Opinion podcast to talk about September 11, 2001, 20 years later. He gets into tremendous detail about that day, what he was thinking, feeling, and now, reflecting.… Read the rest

Issues Management: Mastering the Attack Defense

Sports Analogy Alert/Warning: In all the years I’ve written articles and blog posts, I’ve taken care to avoid the use of sports analogies because I know the majority of people in the PR profession can be turned off by them. That said, this is that rarest of exceptions where a sports analogy is the absolute best way to illustrate the strategy that is our focus here.Read the rest

Who Gets to Judge “Civility?”

Comedian Steve Martin had a great line early in his career when he talked about the secret to becoming a millionaire. “First,” he said, “you get a million dollars…”

Isn’t that so true? How many self-help books or gurus are just like that? They skip right to the result but are scant on details of how to actually get there.… Read the rest

Is Your Review and Approval Process Killing Your Results?

I got an email today from a respected consulting organization that provided details on a recent ransomware attack that occurred over the July 4th weekend.  The rather polished e-news alert was robust in its information, but there was a problem. It’s two weeks too late, and I’ve already gleaned all of the information in the article from other sources when the news first broke.… Read the rest

Don’t Surrender in the Battle of Word Choice

It’s one of the most effective and common ways activists win public debates these days. They change the language. Whatever words or terms you are using today, they will change the words tomorrow and the words you say today, will not only be obsolete, but they will likely be deemed to be offensive. That means when you are quoted from anything you’ve said historically, you are not only wrong (according to their fluid standards), but you will likely be framed as morally and ethically bad, or at least uncaring.… Read the rest

Make Sure Your PR Counsel Knows Its Loyalties

For as long as I can remember, one of the challenges as a communications counselor to clients has been a general mistrust some managers and a few lawyers have had when it comes to discretion and the potential for news media leaks of proprietary information.

More to the point, I’ve seen instances where managers and attorneys tend to hold on to vital information until that last possible moments before public disclosure because they fear that if they provide that information to the communications function too soon it will find its way into the news media before its time.… Read the rest

Should Your Company Take a Position on a Highly Charged Social or Political Issue?

We have to get real on this. If you’re wondering why you’re seeing major corporations or brands take stances on highly charged social and political issues, it’s unlikely that they’ve all simultaneously discovered their socially aware or politically activist convictions that no one knew existed before.

The crisis and issues manager in me that’s been around for a few decades tells me something else.… Read the rest

Workplace Communications: The Downsides of Vaccine Mandates

One of the most basic tenets of crisis communications is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. With that in mind, through my work, I’ve been looking at the potential downsides of employer mandates of vaccination for the COVID virus.

If you read the news coverage, reports on vaccine effectiveness are generally positive, yet we are starting to see anecdotal stories of people who have had negative reactions which were more than temporary and that still remain.… Read the rest

Civility: One Person’s Honest Opinion is Another Person’s “Disinformation”…and the Story of How Galileo Got Cancelled

One of the hot new terms you may see bandied about in 2021 is “disinformation.”

Its users see it as a label for calling out deceptive speech, oftentimes to discredit and sometimes to censor that speech. Critics see the increasing use of the term as a propagandist strategy used to marginalize anyone who might dissent from a general narrative.… Read the rest

Free Speech: How “Misinformation” is Used to Deny Your Right to Hear

When you ate your meals in a high chair, chances are your mother or someone else spoon-fed you for a time. That was because you were incapable of discerning what was good for you and what could harm you. Eventually you learned to feed yourself and distinguish between food and the spoon itself.

Imagine if today if your mother would decide that all of the information you receive would be spoon-fed to you.… Read the rest