Jill Kelley Must Walk Careful Crisis Management Line

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    Reputation management is key in sensitive situations

    Jill Kelley, the unofficial social liason to MacDill Air Force Base, is at the very center of the David Petraeus scandal. It was Kelley’s complaints to the FBI about threatening letters from Paula Broadwell that initially started the investigation into the situation, and now that the proverbial stuff has hit the fan Bernstein Crisis Management president Jonathan Bernstein recommends that both her and her socialite sister inject a heavy dose of caution into everything they do or say.

    A quote, from a USNews.com article by Elizabeth Flock:

    Bernstein, who wrote the Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay says it’s “going to take a long time to sort out who actually did wrong” beyond Gen. Petraeus and Broadwell. Kelley and her sister, he says, need to remember that if they do anything to obfuscate the truth about themselves or the situation, the public will “interpret it as a lie.”

    Kelley is said to be gathering a heavy-hitting legal and crisis management team, but if the sisters cause themselves to be found guilty in the court of public opinion it’s likely that no amount of lawyering will prevent them from negative consequences.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]