Companies and the reporters who cover them regularly find themselves at odds, especially when the tales being shot are unflattering or imparting unwanted attention to a business’s administers, or, in the company’s estimation, simply inaccurate.
Many firms be fighting, which is why crisis communications is a very big and rewarding business. Still, how a company fights back matters. And according to crisis communications pros who TechCrunch spoke with this afternoon, a new post on Oracle’s corporate blog misses the mark, as did the company’s relevant follow-up on social media.
In fact, the author of the pole, an Oracle executive identified Ken Glueck, a 25 -year-long veteran of the company, has been temporarily suspended by Twitter after supporting his followers to bother a female reporter.
The trouble ties to a series of pieces by the news site The Intercept about how a” structure of regional resellers cures pour Oracle technology to the police and armed in China ,” and Oracle’s response to the pieces.
While it isn’t uncommon for companies to post responses to media narratives on their own stages( as well as to take out ads in mainstream media stores ), the crisis execs with whom we spoke — they asked not to be worded as they working in collaboration with firms like Oracle — had some observations that might be helpful to Oracle in the future.
Rule number one: don’t draw attention unnecessarily to work that you might prefer didn’t exist. Oracle’s newest affix doesn’t tie-up back to the brand-new Intercept story that Glueck works to dismantle, but in an earlier post about the first Intercept story that ran in February, Glueck hyperlinks to the story on Oracle’s blog in the very first sentence of his reply, even sharing its compelling claim:” How Oracle Sells Repression in China .”
” How many of Oracle’s purchasers or hires examined[ The Intercept piece] or didn’t give a damn, and now he’s drawing attention to it ?” noted one exec we’d interviewed today.
Rule number two: Don’t affect reporters; attack( if there is a requirement) the outlet. In Glueck’s first diatribe against The Intercept over its February piece, he mentions the shop 26 goes and the author of the patch formerly. In Glueck’s newest salvo against The Intercept, he refers to its writer, reporter Mara Hvistendahl, 22 meters — largely by her given name — and even invites readers of Oracle’s blog to reach out to him about her, writing in boldface:” If you have any information about Mara or her reporting, write me securely at kglueck AT protonmail.com .”
Though Glueck has since said the call-out was a tongue-in-cheek gesture, it was subsequently removed from the announce, possibly owing to a lack of its “sinister tone” as are complying with one of our professionals.” No one likes a bully ,” said this comms pro, adding that” bullying communicates weakness .”
Rule number three: Know your purpose. By lashing out in what is a clearly derisive style to The Intercept’s piece, as well as continuing to doubling down on his attack against Hvistendahl on social media afterward, Glueck’s strategy turn less and less clear, distributed according to one of the crisis specialists we spoke with.
” You can do what Ken did and tease” the reporter, said this person,” but is that going to stop The Intercept from ongoing efforts to do narrations about Oracle? And what is the reaction of other media? Are they scared off by[ what happened today] or are they going to circle the wagons ?”( Below: a document from an L.A. Times reporter to Glueck today in response to his call for information about Hvistendahl .)
Rule four: Keep it short-spoken. Two of the pros we spoke with today commended Glueck’s writing style, announcing it both fluid and funny. Both also observed that his response was far too long.” I merely couldn’t get through it ,” said one.
Last rule: Find another way if possible. The crisis professionals we spoke with said it’s ideal to first work with a reporter, then the reporter’s editor if necessary, and if the time comes to it, involve advocates, of which Oracle surely has plenty.” That’s the order of plea if a reporter has gone a story blatantly wrong ,” said one source.
Very maybe, Glueck decided to throw out this rulebook by design. Oracle tends to do things its own way, and Glueck is very much a product of that culture. Indeed, the WSJ wrote a 1, 300 -word profile about Glueck last year, calling him a” potent weapon” for Oracle.
As for Hvistendahl, she shows there is another reason Oracle made the route that it did.
In a statement sent to us earlier, she writes that” Ken Glueck has published two interminable blog uprights affecting me and my editor, Ryan Tate. But Oracle has not refuted my central observe, which is that the company marketed its analytics software for use by police in China. Oracle also hasn’t refuted our reporting on Oracle’s sale and market of its analytics software to police elsewhere in the world. We found evidence of Oracle selling or selling analytics software to police in Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, and the UAE. In Brazil, my colleague Tatiana Dias unveiled police contractsbetween Oracle and Rio de Janeiro’s notoriously distorted Civil Police .”
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