Letterman’s gambit helped him control the conversation

A lesson in handling a PR powder keg (Hint: Having your own show helps).

A lesson in handling a PR powder keg (Hint: Having your own show helps)

Listen up, all you Face Bookers and bloggers and Tweeters and woofers.

You want to know how to really sell a story in the 21st century heyday of social media?

You get your own late-night TV show, that’s how.

There’s a reason they pay David Letterman $30+ million. He’s good. He’s a pro. He knows how to play his medium like a Stradivarius. (That’s a violin, FaceBook people.)

Letterman demonstrated that yet again Tuesday night when he—not the cops, not the district attorney, not the other guy’s sleazebag attorney—announced on his show the guilty plea and sentencing of the former CBS producer who tried to shake down the late-night host for $2 million.

Letterman had demonstrated his public relations prowess from the moment five months ago when he revealed, on his own program, that his sexual encounters with female staffers had led to a jealous suitor’s criminal attempt to extort money.

Notwithstanding the questions of marital morality and workplace propriety that Letterman’s behavior evoked, it is inarguable that he handled the public relations fallout brilliantly.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.