Monday, September 14, 2009

Joe Wilson: PR 101

Joe Wilson Heckles the President

Joe, the PR principle—or call it a life principle—is this: when you are impolite, you apologize.

As President Obama spoke to both Houses of Congress about healthcare the other night, and Obama said that his suggested plan would not cover illegal immigrants, Congressman Joe Wilson yelled out in front of this nationally televised august body: “You lie!”

No one objects to the Congressman having a different point of view, but since we were children we have been taught that common courtesy allows a speaker to complete his or her talk before interrupting. Indeed, this was not a political rally. Moreover, this was not just any speaker; it was the President of the United States who, at a minimum, is owed the respect of his office.

Not long after the speech ended, Wilson issued an apology, extending his “sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility." He also called the White House to apologize. I urge Joe Wilson to stand up before the House and publically apologize. I urge him to have a brief press conference where he announces to the public at large that he is sorry for his insulting action.

Mr. Wilson’s constituency may be joyous that he opposes the President, and no one is denying them that right or the right to promote his point of view, but isn’t there something called the loyal opposition?

Today Mr. Wilson and his son defended what he did. You have to wonder what in our society could produce an attitude that such action is courageous rather than rude. Could it be the internet culture, which savors individualism and enables even bizarre statements and actions to gain prominent recognition? If that is the case, it’s definitely one of the downsides of the internet.

Technorati Tags: healthcare, Joe+Wilson, White House, President Obama, Congress, education, business, Public Relations, Makovsky


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