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Masters of Disaster

The Ten Commandments of Damage Control

By Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag
13-minute read
Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag

Masters of Disaster takes you on a journey through a crisis that characterizes today’s information age. Drawing on damage control operations, the authors have developed the ten commandments to help any politician, celebrity or company avoid scandal and a tarnished reputation.

  • Anyone in a public-facing role
  • Anyone whose work depends on the audience’s trust
  • Anyone who hopes to one day become an elected official

Bill Guttentag is an Oscar winning director of numerous programs for TV networks including ABC and HBO, and documentaries including Nanking and Soundtrack. He is also a lecturer at the Graduate School of Stanford University.

Christopher Lehane and Mark Fabiani are damage control experts who have worked for various high-level individuals and companies, including Bill Clinton. They both graduated from Harvard Law School and specialize in the art of damage control.

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Masters of Disaster

The Ten Commandments of Damage Control

By Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag
Synopsis

Masters of Disaster takes you on a journey through a crisis that characterizes today’s information age. Drawing on damage control operations, the authors have developed the ten commandments to help any politician, celebrity or company avoid scandal and a tarnished reputation.

Key idea 1 of 8

Publicized crises are increasingly common in modern society.

When you hear the word crisis, what springs to mind? A plane crash? A bank collapse? Yet a crisis could be less overt, but equally troublesome: an organization’s security protocol could be breached or a high profile figure could be misquoted on an important issue.

If we think about crises this way, we can see that they happen every single day. Today, several social and technological developments have unfortunately made crises the “normal state of nature.” In our information age, virtually everyone with a smartphone can break news. Every stray comment and  poor decision can immediately be shared across the world at lightning speed.

Say a risque joke at the office party and within minutes it’s viral across the company. A businessman criticizes his staff to a journalist, and in no time at all, it’s plastered all over the news feeds of his employees, shareholders and customers.

In this way, the news we receive and share via social media tends to be selective and biased. Simply through the sheer wealth of different sources of information online (social media, news sites, blogs etc.), it is increasingly easy to find news to fit your existing beliefs.

So, major crises can be created by people who naively think what they’ve heard is true and spread the false information online. Remember those claims that President Obama was not born in the USA? They were widely proliferated by Republicans and led to crisis-fed journalism, even though they were complete nonsense.

Once misinformation goes public, it’s hard to restore one’s reputation. But it’s been done. In the next blinks, you’ll learn how.

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