A moment several days after the November 2016 U.S. presidential elections encapsulates a critical issue for PR pros: What’s the best way to walk back a statement that, with time, becomes a misstatement? There are a number of options:
Do you swallow your pride and issue an apology?
If so, how quickly?
Or, is it best to avoid mentioning the miscue, hope nobody notices and move forward?
Perhaps tacitly acknowledge the misstatement and offer a related plan, but without mentioning the misstatement.
What if the misstatement occurs during a crisis? Does that change how you handle walking it back?
As noted above, the well-known example occurred shortly after what many pollsters and pundits considered a surprising win for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
As they quickly canceled celebrations of America’s first female president, Clinton supporters sought an explanation. One rattling around for weeks involved Russian-sponsored interference.
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