Politics, Religion, and Crisis Management

3-23 Drive POPE Pic

We usually avoid politics and religion.  They are contentious topics and we try to be sensitive to our readers.  But this week, there were two interesting crisis management pieces – one about the new Pope and the other about a former Clinton administration advisor that were worth sharing (and not offensive).

Law.com sent congratulations and some advice to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who has been chosen as the new pope, Pope Francis I.

“From the start, Pope Francis will confront a host of what we lawyers call ‘substantive’ issues,” writes James F. Haggerty. “But beyond issues of faith and morals, doctrine and dogma, the new pope will also face administrative and organizational issues at the Vatican that are not unlike those faced every day by business executives, in-house counsel, and their internal and outside advisors. Pope Francis has become, in effect, the new CEO of a gigantic global enterprise-and a troubled one at that.”

Click here for the crisis management and crisis communications advice dispensed by Haggerty.

And now for the politics…

Lanny Davis, who was the White House special counsel for President Bill Clinton, just wrote a book on crisis management: “Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping With Crises in Business, Politics, and Life.”  In this interview with Politico, Davis sums up the big five:

“The first is, get the facts out,” Davis said. “The second is, get the message simple, down to a few words, the headline. The third is absolutely get in front of the story, to pre-empt the bad news from getting to reporters – the full story, good and bad facts. Don’t leave out any bad facts. The fourth is, fight on all fronts – law, media and politics – with an emphasis on law, with attorney-client privilege. … The fifth is, don’t represent yourself – you’ll have a fool for a client.”

Do politicians follow the rules?

“God, I wish I could say they’re getting better,” Davis told Politico. “Every day my colleagues and I read the newspaper, see the headlines, we shake our heads and say, ‘Why aren’t they getting the facts out?'”

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