What would you do in this media relations situation?

Say a reporter accidentally records you saying something you don’t want the public to hear. There are three ways to handle the situation.

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The season finale of HBO’s “Veep,” which aired at the beginning of June, featured a hilarious moment that made me wonder what I would do if I were in such a situation.

If you’re not familiar with the program, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, the nation’s first female vice president. The show revolves around Ms. Meyer and her colorful staff.

The moment occurred just after the vice president concluded an in-person interview with an obnoxious Boston newspaper reporter. After the reporter walked away, Meyer and her staff began discussing a couple of their small-money campaign donors, and insulted the donors’ thriftiness. The staff even gave their low-money donors a derogatory name—GUMMIs—an acronym for “Give us more money, idiots.”

Just as Meyer and her staff finished their conversation, they realized the reporter accidentally left his phone behind—on which he had been recording his interview with the vice president—and it was still recording. The reporter, who realized his mistake, was on his way back to the office to collect his phone.

The staff quickly realized how much trouble the campaign would be in if the recording got out—small-money donors would pull their contributions, and people would see the campaign as elitist.

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