Posted by Cognito on Tue, Sep 15 2009

All Posts by Cognito

Off-the-record? Don't be so sure. Pres. Obama learns a lesson in communications

In what is already making waves in both new and traditional media - President Obama's supposedly "off-the-record" comment about hip-hop artist Kanye West broke on Twitter thanks to ABC News. 

Read the story here. Following public backlash against West's outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards, CNBC and Obama chit-chat prior to a broadcast interview in what is typically off-the-record conversation. Obama refers to West as a "jackass" and ABC News, not realizing that this part of the conversation was off-the-record, quickly tweeted the news.

As you can imagine, the story has become viral and Pres. Obama, I'm sure, is regretting having ever said anything at all. Interestingly, as soon as Pres. Obama makes the comment, he quickly backpedals as he realizes how his comment may come across as the people in the room burst out into stunned laughter. But it was too late - as soon as the tweet was out, it became headline news.

To be fair, the conversation was supposed to be off-the-record. However, in an era where social media empowers reporters and citizens to instantly publish unedited and unverified news and even overheard comments can break stories - communicators and spokespeople need to be unduly cautious about what they say, how they say it, and in particular, who's listening.

I'm eager to see if this will instigate another Beer Summit as the President tries to band-aid this PR boo-boo. Or, given it's Kanye we're talking about, a Hennessey Summit. We'll just have to wait and see...

ABC, CNBC, Communications, Finance, Jackass, Kanye, Obama, Social Media, Twitter, VMA,
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