Revising my thinking on the Utah mine disaster communications

August 21, 2007

In a previous post I congratulated the Chairman of Murray Energy, Bob Murray for providing the face of the mine disaster and doing a good job of working with the media during this almost-made-for-cable event. Then I watched the news last night and saw how things have turned so against the company–from the families, the union and the media. Losing three rescuers also violated the first rule of emergency response: do no harm. But, communications has gone almost as badly lately as the rescue efforts.

My friend and colleague Jon Harmon provided an op-ed piece that was run by the LA Times today and it is a much better, more complete and insightful analysis than I provided. Here is the link to that op-ed.

Here is a relevant quote: It doesn’t have to be pretty. It is a measure of public cynicism toward slick spokespeople that Murray’s unpolished, bellicose presence struck many as refreshingly candid.

That is in part what I was responding to. In comparison with Mattel’s chairman who I think also has done well, but for some has come off as far too slick, practiced and insincere, the same could not be said of Mr. Murray. Ah, it is difficult challenge, isn’t it.


One Response to “Revising my thinking on the Utah mine disaster communications”

  1. Jimmy Jazz Says:


    Thanks for this post, classy as always.

    I have to admit that I disagreed with your earlier post. As Harmon notes in the Op-Ed, I was immediately turned off by Murray’s ranting. While he didn’t have that “slickness” that folks have grown used to and can reject, to me, he was doing the same thing (pushing his own agenda), just without all of the polish. I thought he was a dismal failure from the start, and then when he just disappeared, it seemed to confirm my worst fears.

    A truly sad situation all around, from the original incident, to the second cave-in, and seemingly everything between.


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