Add to the land of lost wishes the desire to see a prominent public figure stand up and tell the world what everyone would instantly recognize as the unvarnished truth:
“I used my personal email because I always had an eye on running for president in 2016 and therefore knew that my every word would be scrutinized, especially by my political enemies, so I didn’t want to provide them with easy fodder.”
OK, I get that.
Hillary Clinton, all but conceded the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, was already the most watched woman in the world. The revelation by The New York Times that she used her personal email account for her Secretary of State work set off predictable howls of protest. Two weeks after the story broke and other media outlets added to it, she held a news conference in New York Tuesday.
She said using one hand-held device for all emails — rather than one for work and one for personal — was more convenient. True, to a point. It is more convenient, if you are a 20-year-old waitress. If you are Secretary of State by day and presidential candidate by night? Not so much.
The reviews are coming in and they are not all good. Her explanation, like so many Clintonesque responses over the year, has just enough plausibility so as not to be rejected out of hand as ludicrous lying. But it fell short of convincing and well short of ending the crisis.
Which takes us back to the “wouldn’t it be nice” wishes at the start. The duration of a crisis is measured in time. The longer the crisis persists, the more damage done. The longer this goes on — and you can take it to the bank it will either go on right through Election Day 2016 or will go away briefly and return in primary season — the worse it is for Clinton.
The best way to combat a crisis is by issuing factual, documentable accounts that can be independently verified, and take responsibility for any wrongdoing. This is especially so with Clinton. She knows that. Her advisors know that. Therefore the inescapable conclusion is that this is the best she could do.
Which is not going to be good enough.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with eight offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.