How the Obama Team Can Fix Its ACA PR ‘Glitches’

Doyle_Jerry copy

Jerry Doyle

The Obama White House is coming to realize just how much of a reputation hit it is taking on the disaster that is the Affordable Care Act registration and information website.  What could the White House have done and what does it have to do now to limit further damage?

  • Then:  Leading up to Oct. 1, President Obama and promoters of the ACA could have explained just how enormous an undertaking this website was, how complex and unprecedented the lines of code, the huge capability it has to undertake and "billboard" inevitable glitches as this kind of site is without precedent.
  • Now:  Speak to the importance of the law and the benefits and contextualize as many conversations (and complaints) about the website with the overarching messages about the Act itself.  President Obama is attempting to do this, but needs to up his game and deputize others to “sell” the law, not the registration site.
  • Now:  Disasters need a culprit. One known failing of the president is to follow through when he claims there will be accountability.  Be it the IRS scandal, Benghazi or now the ACA website, the people need a name.

Most of all, vague and canned responses like “We will fix this” and “We will get to the bottom of this” without communicating specific action, without emphasizing the larger benefit of the legislation and without a named culprit will continue to cast a pall over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Jerry Doyle will be leading a media training session at PR News' Media Relations Next Practices Conference on Dec. 12, at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club. He is principle of CommCore Consulting Group and can be reached at

Comments Off


About Jerry Doyle

Steve Goldstein is editorial director for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Deals of the Week

$150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit

socialmedia201602-180x150Join PR News in Huntington Beach, CA on Feb. 26 for the Social Media Summit, where you'll be immersed in real-world, tactical case studies from brands, nonprofits and agencies and get takeaways in pulling and analyzing social media data; emerging social platforms and apps and so much more. 

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 o the regular rate.

$50 off the CSR & Green PR Guidebook

csr_vol7_print_digital-thumbPR News’ CSR & Green PR Guidebook, Vol. 7 captures best practices in communicating the positive relationships that organizations are building with their communities of interest. This six-chapter guidebook connects the dots between the effective communication of positive social contributions and corresponding improvements in bottom lines.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.