Image Patrol: Two Major Groups Try To Undo the (Media) Damage Done

This month we're going to take a look at trust and the impact a crisis has on the level of trust that an organization inspires from its constituencies. First there's the AARP,
which makes for an interesting case study. Some 15,000 members have ripped up their AARP cards -- in response to the Medicare reform bill recently passed by Congress -- and
withdrawn from the organization. Granted, in an organization of some 35 million, that may not be a huge number, but it's enough to keep the crisis in the headlines for a good
while. The AARP's support for Medicare reform took members by surprise, and provided a perfect opportunity for opponents of the bill to capitalize on the membership's ire. Any
good PR manager will tell you that the fastest way to reduce trust and damage a relationship is to take your publics by surprise. Isn't that what PR is supposed to do - explain,
teach, persuade? Or is it all just about grabbing headlines?