Sex Poodle Al Gore Is Totally Misplaying This One

Says Lloyd Grove on The Daily Beast: "Now, four weeks into his multimedia ordeal, Gore hasn't managed to formulate an effective PR strategy to counter the toxic fallout polluting his once-gleaming image."

It's not often in this day and age that a public figure is taken to task for not doing enough spin - certainly not in politics. And yet, that's exactly what strategists are saying about Al Gore's handling of the barrage of sexual-harassment allegations, at least according to Grove.

Crisis managers say his passive stance is only fueling the problem. What's more, he has yet to personally confront the allegations in a public forum, and refuses to take questions from the howling media mob during increasingly furtive speaking appearances. Inevitably, the ugly charges and Gore's apparent evasiveness are harming his reputation.

Of course, Gore's camp issued a firm denial as soon as Molly Hagerty's accusations first broke. But those experts quoted say that Gore should be suing for libel and doing the talk-show circuit. (A la John Edwards, presumably?) Says one "crisis management" guru,

Whenever you're accused of anything these days, and it's not true, you have to fire back with both barrels-give an unequivocal denial and, if possible, an explanation. I find it hard to understand why he wouldn't do that, except for the fact that it might be true. From the way he's been behaving, the only logical inference is that there must be at least some truth to these allegations.

(If there is, adds another expert, he needs to own it and start image rehab a la Eliot Spitzer, since "personal brand equity erodes much faster than corporate brand equity.")

But if there is truth there, the fact remains that these charges go beyond infidelity, lying or visiting hookers, and that's a very real difference. Should everyone's "personal brand equity" be subject to rehabilitation? By the same token, if someone is innocent - and Gore is by all means innocent until proven guilty and, in any event, has issued a denial, even if not a dramatic enough one to suit PR mavens - why does a Clinton-and-Edwards-style media circus indicate...innocence? When does going through the motions become just that?


Al Gore's Weak Defense
[Daily Beast]