How to get yourself out of a scandal. Some tips for politicians.

The best way to deal with the truth is to never let it get out, but if it does here’s some helpful hints for damage control.

  • Deflect attention from serious charges by dealing with only the weakest accusations. Slay a straw man instead of getting cornered on the most serious problem.
  • Characterize the charges as “personal attacks” or wild rumors.
  • Assassinate your detractor’s character.  Make them look worse than you. Label them as “conspiracy-theorists” or “nut-jobs.”  Bring up their past mistakes. Better yet, drag a skeleton out of their closet,  real or imagined.
  • Intimate that your opponents have evil motives. Characterize them as racist, partisan, as “having an ax to grind”, or that they’re “doing it for the money.”
  • Accentuate your authority. Deny the allegation and hope it blows over. Wear dark blue with red and white accents. Platform shoes help, too.
  • Orchestrate a separate “scandal” for the 24-hour news cycle, better yet a national crisis, terrorist warning, etc.
  • Past-tensify the allegation.  Refer to it as “in the past” or as “old news.” Act like everyone knows about it, but that everyone still likes you and they’ve moved on.
  • Complicate and confuse the issue with a fog of complex bureaucratic legalese.
  • Come half-clean.  Simulate an environment of candor while admitting some less-than-criminal “mistakes.” Call it an error in judgment or a “lapse.”
  • Blame it on someone else.
  • Let other people answer questions for you if possible, even if it means sacrificing a close colleague.
  • State it can’t possibly be true, otherwise some regulatory agency or the press would have “been all over it.”
  • Start like you’re answering the charges, but then wander to some tangential topic. Talk for as long as possible without actually saying anything. This limits time for further questions.
  • Feed them “red-herrings.”
  • Play dumb.
  • Suggest a study or commission to get to the bottom of things, then staff it with people that you control.

Don’t ask yourself WWJD. Ask yourself, “What would Bill Clinton do?”  Let that be your guide. Good luck!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rusty_Shackleford on February 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Here’s some additional info on truth suppression techniques, and the original 13 from David Martin.


    • Posted by the rookie cynic on February 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

      Great links. Thank you.

      We all need better bologna detectors. I’ve wallowed in a morass of disinformation too long. I’m sick of it. Love Sweeney’s clarion call: “Truth cannot live on a diet of secrets, withering within entangled lies. Freedom cannot live on a diet of lies, surrendering to the veil of oppression. The human spirit cannot live on a diet of oppression, becoming subservient in the end to the will of evil. God, as truth incarnate, will not long let stand a world devoted to such evil. Therefore, let us have the truth and freedom our spirits require… or let us die seeking these things, for without them, we shall surely and justly perish in an evil world.”

      Thanks for your contribution.


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