Some California politicians have found themselves in hot water recently after it was discovered they didn’t follow certain coronavirus prevention guidelines they have been touting to residents all over the state.
PR guru Howard Bragman, CEO of La Brea Media, says elected officials in the state could do a much better job when it comes to effectively communicating these guidelines to Californians, saying on a scale of one to ten, he rates them at a five.
“I think they’re following the scientific community when the ICU’s get to a certain point that they're putting in certain restrictions and I think that's the right answer. But a lot of our leaders are "do as we say, not as we do." They’re talking the talk but not walking the walk,” he tells Inside the Issues. “There’s just a lot of things that have going on that are just really beyond the pale. And these people know better.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently apologized after attending a dinner at the French Laundry, an upscale restaurant near Napa Valley, where he was seen indoors without a mask.
Bragman has consulted with many public figures on how to address situations where a public apology may be necessary.
“You want to plan these things beforehand. Once you’re caught, you’re caught. What you say is, ‘I made a mistake and I apologize.’ What you do not do is equivocate,” he said. “An apology does not mean you’re 100% wrong. It means you’re 100% committed to moving on so you take 100% responsibility.”
“I have a friend who’s an actor and I know he's going on a trip and I'm like, keep it off social media. I don't care what you do, get tested before, get tested after,” Bragman continued. “What you do not do when you apologize is say, ‘It was ok because I got a test right before and you do not want to give a hundred reasons why it was ok that you went on this trip.”
With the constant change in information, it’s easy for many people to get confused about current rules and regulations in regard to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Bragman advises politicians to keep information concise.
“When I teach people messaging to do an interview, if you go over five points you’re going to lose people, so if you’re handing out 12-page documents, forget about it. You’re just going to lose people. If they think people are going to read this and comprehend this and get the nuances of it, out of this, you’re frankly kidding yourselves,” he explained. “They’ve got to make this much simpler.”
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