By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Why Did the Biden Team Fail to Use the Tenets of Basic Crisis Communications?
When the news broke that classified documents were found in President Joe Biden’s Delaware home, the PR pundits immediately criticized his handling of the situation. They pointed out that Biden and his staff waited too long to tell the public, didn’t reveal all the information, and let CBS News break the story instead of taking control of the situation.
However, crisis communications is not just about telling the truth, telling it first, telling it all and telling it fast. It’s also about having a strategic plan that takes into consideration potential – and often considerable – downsides of disclosure. It’s possible that the Biden team weighed the options before deciding to hold back on disclosure.
The practice of crisis communications differs from the practice of traditional public relations in a variety of ways, including knowing when to make the strategic decision to hold back.
As a former White House advisor, political consultant David Axelrod offers a valuable perspective on the issue. You can read the Atlantic piece here.