Good PR Can Guarantee High Job Approval Ratings and High Stock Prices What government and the private sector can learn from one another
The Bush Administration is being terribly hurt by the media.
The Government Accountability Office issued a report in January 2006 stating that the current administration in Washington spent $1.6 billion on public relations over 2-1/2 years. Of that, $1.1 billion was for military recruitment.
That leaves $500 million for image building. Yet the president’s job approval rating is in the mid- to low 30s.
What’s gone wrong?
Dwight Eisenhower, Master of PR
If you saw George C. Scott in “Patton,” you will recall the slapping scene. Patton, visiting grievously wounded and dying soldiers in a field hospital in Sicily, came upon Pvt. Charles H. Kuhl of the 26th Infantry Regiment sitting on the end of a cot weeping. “It’s my nerves, I guess,” Kuhl told the general. “I can’t stand the shelling.” In his biography of Eisenhower, “General Ike,” Alden Hatch recounted what happened next:
Patton’s fetish was personal courage and this reply seemed to snap his own overwrought nerves. He roared a corrosive stream of abuse and profanity in which such printable epithets as “coward” and “yellowbelly” were the moderate exception. Finally he struck the boy with the back of his hand, sending his helmet liner rolling under the beds.
The Allies were suddenly faced with a public relations disaster. In those innocent times, it had potential consequences akin to Abu Ghraib.
Eisenhower moved quickly, ordering Patton to apologize in person not only to the soldier and all the personnel in the field hospital, but to the entire Seventh Army.
But how to deal with the press? The slapping incidents (there were more than one) occurred in the early summer of 1944. Hatch’s “General Ike” describes how Eisenhower dealt with the press:
According to Quentin Reynolds, in his book, “The Curtain Rises,” he said to Eisenhower at the press conference, “This would be a nasty story to get out. [Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph] Goebbels could do a lot with it. Every mother in America would think that her son was being subjected to this sort of treatment.”