What really happened at that FEMA news conference–in Philbin’s words

January 11, 2008

I have commented here several times and from the beginning that the supposedly “fake” news conference FEMA conducted in October was not what was being told in the press. That it was more about politics, the politicization of government agencies, about media infotainment than many seasoned PR professionals believed. It strikes me as ironic that we who know you can’t believe what you read in the press are among the quickest to believe when it conforms to a predisposition–in this case the predisposition being that FEMA is a bad, incompetent evil agency and anyone associated with it is too.

At any rate, read (or hear ) for yourself what happened at this news conference from the fall guy himself–Pat Philbin, courtesy of this interview with Kami Huyse.

The audio feed is courtesy of Shel Holtz’s For Immediate Release.

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2 Responses to “What really happened at that FEMA news conference–in Philbin’s words”

  1. Kami Huyse Says:

    Baron; Thanks for sharing this, it is incredibly important that we learn from this.

  2. nachapman Says:

    Huge kudos to everyone for a fabulously candid interview and making this available. This interview ought to be compulsory listening for every PR – and journalism – course. Gerald thanks for adding the link, Shel and Neville for podcasting it, Kami for her great interview, but huge thanks go to ‘Pat’ for his willingness to share what was an awful situation, impacting him in many ways.
    What resonated with me is how much of a tightrope the information team walks during a crisis. I have personal experience of it, but hearing someone else’s confirmed just how narrow the line is between success and failure. Pat and his team were trying to do everything right, with the right intent – but almost out of spite because things were going well (it was a great response to the CA emergency, and FEMA were doing a good job) the media just had to find something bad to focus on. Thanks Pat, and hats off to you.


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