The White House press conference today should be required reading among all crisis management consultants working with companies. Far from being an exemplar, it was instead among the worst-managed such things I have ever seen. Spokesperson Scott McClellan was fumbling and uncertain, and while it almost certainly wasn’t his fault, the press pounced on his unwillingness to answer simple questions.
Without taking a partisan tack, it is an interesting example of how violating Carville’s Rule of Scandals — tell it early, tell it all, tell it yourself — can turn even the most insignificant issue into a debacle. The current president is in good company in struggling to manage the media, and alongside him is a laundry list of ballooned business scandals, from the major, like Tyco, to the minor, like Martha Stewart.