Written by Noemi Pollack on June 9, 2011.
Spirit Airlines jumped on Weiner-gate faster than most, with their well-known marketing prowess. From the same company that targeted Arnold Schwarzenegger a couple of weeks ago, they promoted, this time around, a Weiner Sale that is “Too Hard to Resist,” with the text of the offer reading, “Hurry to book now, before this sale gets hacked.” Tasteless? Definitely, but somehow irresistible and in line for a company who’s president/CEO once shoved himself in an overhead bin to defend his company’s carry-on charges.
And then there was Jon Stewart, with his spoof on his purported “best friend” (college roommate). And then Letterman and Craig Ferguson took off, elongating the tale and at some point, after a few more comics took their turns, the laughs cooled off and the ridiculousness of it all set in.
Curiously enough, the media circus itself sobered up and some even took offense at the ongoing tasteless battering of Weiner.
Still, repercussions from the comic frenzy continued. For example, in the wake of the Weiner scandal, actor Alec Baldwin might now seriously consider running for mayor of New York City in 2013 when it was Congressman Weiner that had been considered as the Democrats’ frontrunner. And Eliot Spitzer, who embarrassingly enough always gets asked for commentary on political figures involved in shocking sex scandals for obvious reasons, said he sympathizes with Rep. Anthony Weiner — naturally.
Imagine – a simple matter of a miss-key on Twitter, results in laying bare (pardon the pun) of personal habits and preferences, exposing personal moral digressions to an unforgiving public.
Miss-key or not, it is a gross lapse in judgment to even consider the use of a medium that is meant for public consumption in the first place. Political figures, by the nature of their chosen paths, give up a certain right to behaviors that can be seen as inappropriate to the “political image” that got them elected in the first place. They are held up to a far greater public moral compass than the ordinary man in the street.
It doesn’t take a trained political PR guru to understand that the greatest sin from the perspective of the public was not the miss-keyed Twitter moment, but rather not being truthful at the moment of crisis. It is a flaw in judgment which should not have happened, given the PR training he must have received on the way to becoming an elected official. He could have joked about it, made some attempt at “Oops, I did not mean to put it out there” (another pun intended) or any other type of Mea Culpa. But to blatantly lie about “questionable certitude” is such a PR 101 lesson – that it becomes incredulous. Where were his advisors?
Message to remember – social media is very social indeed, as opposed to private media.