Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Where to begin? This whole thing was such a train-wreck that it’s hard to tell the wheels from the rails … OK, let’s set aside the “who’s-zooming-who” salacious details surrounding now ex-Toronto mayoral candidate Adam Giambrone’s fall from grace and look purely at the communications aspect (as we do as a matter of course here at TD&F). We can only assume that the sequence of events was something like this: girlfriend Kristen Lucas goes to the Toronto Star with the story of her clandestine relationship with Giambrone, supplying text message transcripts, posing for photos, and talking openly about certain activities taking place on the councilor’s office sofa. The Star puts story together, then calls Giambrone, informing him of plans to publish, and offering the opportunity to comment. What to do, what to do …? When confronted with a messy issue that is about to get page one treatment in the media, the cardinal rule is simple: complete and utter full disclosure – no matter how painful – and for good reason, as witnessed by the out-of-control spiral into which Giambrone fell. Day One, he gave the Star a statement which quickly unraveled, i.e. “inappropriate contact” with “one woman” which took the sole forms of text messages and face-to-face encounters only at public events. Lucas’ claims and text message corroboration shredded that, as did the before-11-PM identification of yet another woman by Global TV. Day Two, there’s Giambrone, with another front-page exclusive statement to the Star, essentially admitting that 24 hours ago he was outright lying to them in an attempt to control the damage. If you’re in a crisis situation and there is more bad news lurking out there that hasn’t come out yet (but probably will,) lance that boil yourself. Have one really, really bad day and you might be able to survive to fight on. Have one really, really bad day after another and you’re toast. Backing up a step, the text-messaging revelation that Giambrone’s so-called partnership with Sarah McQuarrie was purely “political” and for the purpose of the “campaign” only further showed that his carefully constructed domestic home life image was nothing more than that: a backdrop. In any communications effort, credibility is absolutely everything – and that’s never more true than in the realm of politics. But regardless of whether you’re running for higher office or simply trying to reach a targeted audience with a message, if you self-immolate your own credibility, well, you got nothin’. Just ask Adam Giambrone.

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