5 bad PR moves Jesse Jackson Jr.’s handlers made

How the congressman’s team responded to his emotional and physical problems is a textbook case of what not to do.

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Jackson, Jr. is currently being hospitalized for depression and another unnamed physical ailment. However, the way this story was drawn out is a textbook case of how not to handle the media.

Here is what they got wrong:

1. They allowed the media to control the story. This story was driven by the media from the beginning. It started off as a thinly-sourced story about Jackson being absent from Congress, which quickly devolved into rumors about drug use and suicide attempts. All the while nothing came from the Jackson camp.

Jackson’s staff should have gotten ahead of the story. They should have called a press conference and announced the congressman’s ailment and that he was under treatment. Unfortunately, because this incident has to do with mental illness, I believe the Jackson camp were reluctant to release the information.

2. There was no clarity. The media starts running with rumors when they have nothing to go on. Reporters often have daily deadlines to meet and they have to report something. If you don’t give them anything, as the Jackson camp did, they will report rumors. It’s better to give provide them with facts.

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