Rush Limbaugh

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

In 1992, I had serious problems with my back and spent three weeks in bed before surgery. Our bedroom had no TV and holding books and magazines was painful. My mental salvation was radio. My favorite program was Rush Limbaugh.

Trouble is, the Internet is rife with misinformation and if you get caught advertently or inadvertently propagating this nonsense in a report, memo, article, letter or book, you will look like a chump. If your careless work finds its way onto the Internet, it will follow you to the grave.

This is not about politics or policy. It’s about process—an exercise in public relations and communication that directly applies to every organization—a one-person entrepreneurship, CEOs of a small business or a giant corporation all the way up to the President of the United States.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has botched myriad PR opportunities and come up the big loser in the court of public opinion.

Quite simply, it is imperative to have a system in place to recognize a public relations crisis and deal with it—a plan that can be implemented immediately. Not tomorrow. Not after the weekend. Now! In his seminal book, “Guerrilla P.R. 2.0,” Michael Levine writes:

One of the single most important points to keep in mind when facing a negative situation of your own is to follow the old dictum: The best defense is a good offence. You must never go on the defensive. By anticipating negative questions you can stand ready with positives.

Levine adds, “There are two speeds in modern P.R.—fast and dead.”

Too many CEOs—Barack Obama included—do not understand the art and science of public relations. PR is too important to be handled by well-meaning amateurs.

It’s not good when the face of your organization has egg on it.

The candidacies of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in jeopardy. They have been “Swift-boated” by the media. For example, Clinton may well have been the nominee by now, had she not muffed a response in the Oct. 30, 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University to Tim Russert’s question about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. She agreed with the idea, but when immediately challenged by Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, she backed off. In normal times, this would have been a small slipup. These are not normal times. This was not a small slip. Rather it

In 2001-2002 I did some consulting with Arbitron--the company that measures the listenership of radio stations around the country. It sent out little pocket diaries and asked people to keep track for a week of what they listened to on the radio. I traveled several times to the Arbitron HQ in Columbia, Maryland where I had meetings with various department heads and wrote and designed some promotional material. On a ZipDisk somewhere might be the creative work I did. But my experience working with Arbitron is hazy at best. What is not hazy is that several months after we parted company, I received

Let’s get this out on the table right now—I love junk mail. Compared to spam—the ultimate time sucker—a little daily junk mail (which can be opened over the recycling bin) is dream stuff. And. by the way, I love the term, “junk mail.” Years back, any mention of the term “junk mail” in the media brought huffy letters from members of the direct marketing community demanding an apology from the offender. When the great West Coast copywriter, the late Bill Jayme, was asked what he did for a living. “I write direct mail solicitations for magazines,” he said, “such as Atlantic Monthly, BusinessWeek, Civilization, American Heritage and many

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