Former Democratic presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards will never know if the current situation as well as his political future would be different if he had adhered to the Number One Rule of crisis media relations: tell your story—and all of it—first.
He had many chances to break this story well before he contacted Bob Woodruff of ABC News to conduct the interview this past Friday night which was, of course, too late. His credibility is zero and it’s way too early to predict his future. Meanwhile, the credibility of the National Enquirer has skyrocketed among its Fourth Estate peers as well as John Q. Public.
By telling your bad news first, truthfully and completely as it is known at the time, your version will be the one that matters and upon which others will be judged. Continue to be the key source for the story as well as for updates.
Once the smoke clears and the cameras and requests for interviews disappear, your credibility will be intact as well as your self respect, two of your most valuable assets.
Meanwhile, we’ll be editing the Woodruff/Edwards interview to include in our upcoming crisis communications and media training summits.