PR Contest: How many other ways could the IRS have confessed its improper audits of Tea Party names?
All joking aside, what the IRS auditors did in targeting Tea Party groups was just dumb, dumber and dumbest.
Even worse was their PR “plan” to tell the world via a planted question at an American Bar Association meeting.
If not truly dumb, then it falls into the category of “What were they thinking?” i.e. dumb.
Once the IRS knew it was going to get a PR “audit” for its stupidity, they schemed for a “spontaneous” question which would then allow an IRS official to apologize for its actions. Didn’t they think a public statement in a room of lawyers in Washington, DC would hit the media fast? Well it only took about 10 minutes for the first article to appear then the viral fire storm really erupted.
Any PR pro could have given them 10 other strategies for divulging the news instead of a planted question.
The question now is what’s the road back from this scandal and brouhaha? It won’t be easy and I would not recommend using the tax payers’ money for an ad, image or PR campaign. Yet a trusted IRS is actually critical to a smooth functioning country. After the dust settles, the IRS should look at other scandals and crises and develop ways to gain public confidence. Anyone with ideas?