Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Guido Fawkes does Craig Oliver a favour - suppressing the story is only going to make it worse!

Yesterday saw a great example of how to make your communication challenges worse by trying to suppress them.  The Prime Minister's head of communications Craig Oliver gave BBC correspondent Norman Smith a bit of a 'talking to' about the negative way in which the BBC was reporting the on-going Cameron/Murdoch/Hunt saga and he was caught on camera doing so.  The clip was soon on the internet and creating a buzz.  

Then it was removed from the internet.  Quite why it was removed remains unclear, but Guido Fawkes came to our rescue, reposted it and gained more than 100,000 hits in the process.  In the short space of time that the clip was missing all kinds of loose talk about 'threats, rage, bullying, rows, Oliver becoming the story etc, started to circulate.  This is no surprise - Alastair Campbell set the template and Malcolm Tucker magnified an expectation that we now have of government spin doctors.

When the clip went up again, however, we could see that Oliver was actually quite measured and reasonable, albeit a bit longwinded and repetitive.  Guido did him a favour!

One big black mark for Craig Oliver, though.  Gordon Brown, Andy Gray and Richard Keys have taught us very valuable lessons about checking for microphones.  The trouble is that they are so small and inconspicuous it's still easy to fall into the trap.  But cameras Craig - surely you can spot those - you worked in television until quite recently!

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