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Instincts and Optics

Attorneys and PR professionals often have in common good instincts and an understanding of optics. Sometimes it takes the better part of a career to hone such expertise.

Over their respective careers, people in both professions generally develop their instincts and ability to process optics, i.e. the ability to understand how things might or could or should be perceived.

Why are we bringing this up? Because we're seeing more instances in business, government and elsewhere where executives and politicians are, to be frank, screwing up. Just catch the news each day and you'll see what's happening.

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Attacks on Media

Admit it! Reporters sure do get under your skin. With their questions. You're fuming, but you're in PR, you HAVE TO be nice.

So right now when various people in government aren't playing nice with the media, are you secretly delighted or deeply concerned? There is the First Amendment and freedom of the press. Even people teed off with the media ought to be thinking about that?

Cat got their tongue?

CBS This Morning reaches out to Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner the other day for comment about the FCC delaying new Internet privacy rules that were due to take effect in the U.S. The three companies "did not respond to our request for comment," says Anthony Mason, a senior national correspondent for CBS News.

More than usual, spokespersons for businesses and organizations aren't talking. They're declining to comment, they aren't returning reporters' calls, they can't be reached. The German government, for example, declined to comment in a recent Reuters story about "the London Stock Exchange all but ending a planned merger with Deutsche Boerse..." Remember when New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on Deflategate" And after checking his staff's phones for evidence of leaks, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently "declined to comment about the leaks," according to The Week.

My goodness, even…

We get sidetracked, then there's a crisis

Guest Commentary in American Banker, June 28, 2012 -- "As politicians and activists fought to regulate a bank ATM fee during a multi-year battle beginning in the 1990s, financial firms were busy developing collateralized debt obligations and other exotic instruments that would nearly topple the global economy in 2008. Maybe the ATM fee fight was a misplaced priority?...Do we need regulatory oversight of financial institutions? You bet we do, but such oversight must be on target, prudent and balanced."

Last year at Georgetown University, Joe Biden warned "that the policies that caused the recession of eight years ago are the same ones being proposed today by the incoming administration."

This year on June 12, the New York Times noted: "In a report released late Monday, the Treasury Department said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should be substantially stripped of its powers..."

"Do we need regulatory oversight...You bet we do..."