Oil Spill: Crisis Experts Reveal Key PR Gaffes


As BP tries yet again at press time to put a cap on the gushing oil leak a mile under the Gulf of Mexico, the public’s ire continues to gush as well. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, seven out of 10 of respondents say the company has done a poor or only fair job in handling the April 20 well blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico . The Obama administration got slightly better marks, with 57% rating the government’s response poor or only fair. A similar poll last week, fielded by USA Today/Gallup, finds Obama in hot oil with the public, as 53% rate Obama’s handling of the crisis “poor” or “very poor”; 60% said the federal government’s response was “poor”; but most of the vitriol was aimed at BP—73% said the company’s response was “poor.” As the negativity spreads much like the oil itself, it’s clear that communicators involved in the disaster have been challenged like never before—and already there are PR lessons to be learned.

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