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Wall Street Journal’s Suggestion Of ‘Radical Transparency’ For Trump Is Spot-on – But It’s Not Radical

[By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications]

The Wall Street Journal editorial board has a solution for the Russia scandal that the board suggests offers President Donald Trump “the best chance of saving his Presidency: radical transparency.”

The editorial adds: “Release everything to the public ahead of the inevitable leaks. …every Trump family member, campaign operative and White House aide (should) disclose every detail that might be relevant to the Russian investigations.”

As a crisis communications firm, we build our strategies around transparency, as captured in our mantra: Tell the truth. Tell it first. Tell it all. Tell it fast.

Over and over, we see leaders of organizations do the opposite – and pay the price by being caught up in what becomes a cover-up or suffer through the agonizing drip-drip of a fact at a time being revealed.

As the WSJ puts it, on releasing everything: “Whatever short-term political damage this might cause couldn’t be worse than the death by a thousand cuts of selective leaks, often out of context, from political opponents in Congress or the special counsel’s office. If there really is nothing to the Russia collusion allegations, transparency will prove it.”

The only place we’ll quibble with the editorial board is in its characterization of “radical transparency.”

Indeed, this may be a radical approach for politicians, for whom backpedaling, spin and obfuscation are art forms.

But if you’re caught up in a crisis or face a reputation-threatening situation, choose transparency. And there’s nothing radical about that.

Thom Fladung, a vice president at Hennes Communications, spent 33 years in newspaper newsrooms. 

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