Within this past week, America has caused me to wonder whether or not its citizens and professionals understand the deep power that actions and words carry.
If you don’t live under a rock, you probably know about the huge PR fails that happened this week; they have been slammed on almost every website, news station, radio show, etc.
However, if you do happen to fall within the small percentage of those who are unaware of these stories, please, read below.
United Airlines treatment towards passenger, Dr. David Dao on Flight 3411.
An over-booked Kentucky-bound flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport has caused much controversy for United Airlines. All passengers must have had important meetings, family crises, or proposals to get to; not one passenger offered up their seat, even for $1,000 in compensation. United Airlines then took things too far. Physical force was taken out on Dao in order to escort him off of this flight. Videos and pictures officers dragging Dr. Dao’s body and bloody face have taken over the internet.
Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, and the press conference where he spoke out on Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad and his actions towards Syrian citizens.
Remember the Holocaust? Of course you do–this is one of the most known pieces of history. Spicer definitely has not forgotten about the Holocaust, but he has however, forgotten the right and wrong ways of discussing such a topic. Spicer compared Assad’s actions to the heinous acts of Hitler; his statements include; “You look — we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had a … someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. I mean, there was clearly. I —,” “Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not — he brought them into the Holocaust center — I understand that. But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent — into the middle of towns. It was brought to it, so the use of it and I appreciate the clarification and that was not the intent.”
Spicer dug himself a hole and did not think to throw away the shovel, instead, he kept digging. Even worse? The comments about the Holocaust and the genocide of the Jewish people was said on Passover. Good going, Spicer!
Actions and words affect people, issues, companies, organizations, etc.
United Airlines, as a company, has seen how their actions have substantially failed them.
- United Airlines stock dropped $1.4 billion
- Asian community groups protest at O’Hare
- Countless negative tweets, posts, memes, TV sketches referring Flight 3411
- United Airlines is being targeted for Asian discrimination
The Press Secretary can now understood the power of one’s voice; you cannot take back what you said; unfortunately this will hang above Spicer’s head for years to come.
- Countless negative tweets, posts, memes, TV sketches
- Spicer is now seen as an un-educated joke
- Spicer’s position is now threatened
- Nancy Pelosi spoke out and believes that Spicer should be taken out of this position
With the power of media today, these two incidents will not die easily. Videos, pictures, memes, tweets, posts, e-mails, etc. will revolve globally for weeks, months, and years. People are less likely to forget stories like these with the help of social media.
So what can we possibly learn from these horrendous mistakes that both organizations and professionals are guilty of?
- Learn how to speak and what/what not to speak about.
- If you generate conversation about a certain topic, it is expected that you are educated on such a topic.
- Treat people with respect. [You’d think this goes without saying, but we all, *cough* United Airlines *cough* need a reminder once in a while]
By Christina Cusumano, Junior Account Executive, KC-CASA