The Worst PR Debacle in History
When the media get hold of a juicy story—one that inspires outrage or prurience—they will continue to run with it until something more outrageous or prurient overshadows it. Such was the case with Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandal that plagued the Clinton presidency.
These pale to the gross mishandling of national public relations by the government and the private sector of China.
In 50 years of being a news junkie, I cannot recall a tectonic success—the roaring Chinese economy—being so badly trashed by greed, incompetence and appalling PR.
With a 1.3 billion population, China is governed by an iron-fisted Communist regime. But with millions of individual entrepreneurs “doing their own thing,” its laws are unenforceable.
When laws are unenforceable, a society is ungovernable.
The key takeaway point in this story: Whether you are a nation, a corporation, a small business or an individual, do not get into a pissing match with your critics, do not stonewall and do not try to muzzle the media.
This is not good PR.
The June 21 story in this e-zine was titled, “IS IT TIME TO STOP DOING BUSINESS WITH CHINA?
I created a laundry list of unacceptable Chinese behavior: theft of intellectual property, piracy, counterfeiting, exporting poisonous foods for humans and pets, the export of chemical-laden toys and products, plundering the oceans, cruelty to animals and gendercide—the state-approved murder and abandonment of girl babies.
I assumed that the story would gradually fade away, and I could go on to other things. But during the past month, the media have reveled in recalls of more toys, tires, formaldehyde-infested blankets and pajamas as well as a scathing report on working conditions in Chinese toy factories.
The only light at the end of the tunnel for China appears to be the headlamp of an onrushing locomotive.