While most people watch political scandals unfold with disgust and disbelief, when I talk to some friends who do PR our conversation often turns to what we would do. Take the case of the Governor of Illinois. Why we revile the man and his purported actions we just have to wonder about the poor PR flack who has to sit day after day in briefings attempting to advise someone like this. You often imagine the conversations go something like this:
GOV: Well I'm going to appoint Burris today. Who are they to tell me what to do. They can't stop me.
PR REP: Sir, I'm not sure now is the time to make an appointment. It could cause some problems.
GOV: I don't see any problems.
PR REP: Well sir, I'm sure that people will wonder if he paid you for the appointment. Perhaps it would be best to say just to be sure that no one thinks there's anything shady about the appointment that you have someone else do it.
GOV: But it's my job, I don't see any reason why someone would think he paid.
PR REP: The tapes sire, the ones the Feds have. Those might cause problems.
GOV: No, no, you're wrong.
PR REP: (Eyes rolling to heaven and mentally updating resume). Yes sir.
PR Reps do the best they can with a person they represent, advising more rehearsal time, practice Q&A's, begging them to think before they speak. But ultimately it is always the client's decision in the end what they will say.
In my job I find it much easier since I work on a team where everyone wants things to go off flawlessly. And most of the time they do. So yes, I do like being a PR rep. And I do pity the PR reps of the rich and infamous. Especially the poor soul who is running after Lindsay Lohan begging her not to get behind the wheel and to please for the love of god put on underwear.