Why Paula Deen is Losing and Anthony Weiner is Winning—A Tale of Two Follow-Ups

June 26th, 2013

It’s often said when people make mistakes that the cover-up is bigger than the crime.  Bill Clinton comes to mind.  His “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman” quote will follow him through history.

Likewise, oftentimes the follow-up is bigger than the original error.  In the case of both Paula Deen and Anthony Weiner the contrast in post-disaster strategy is stunning. First, you have Paula Deen who used the “N” word in the ‘80’s and once envisioned a party featuring slave wait staff. Then there is Anthony Weiner who famously photographed his stuff for the world to see and reluctantly resigned from Congress.

How each person has behaved since there mistakes is a study in public relations strategy.

In Deen’s case, she’s clearly come unhinged.  First, she made two terrible makeshift videos.  That immediately resulted in termination of her contract by both the Food Network and Smithfield Foods.  After an appearance that can only be described as a disturbing emotional mess on The Today Show this morning where she looked like an emotional train wreck, she was immediately dropped by Caesars Entertainment and Walmart while QVC is “reviewing” her relationship with the company.

Then there is Anthony Weiner.  He made his mistake and disappeared for a while.  He could have tried to justify his behavior somehow as a “lots of people do it these days” argument (kind of like Deen saying that most Southerners use the “N” word), but he didn’t.

Instead, his announcement video for his candidacy for Mayor of New York was no nonsense and contrite.  He didn’t make any excuses but instead said that he knows he made a mistake but hoped the voters would be willing to accept his apology and move on.  The result?  He’s now in the lead in the mayoral race.

If Paula Deen had followed Weiner’s model, she’d probably be well on her way towards redemption in the public eye.  Instead, she’s clearly coming undone.  She looked and sounded so unprofessional in both her videos and this morning’s appearance that it was actually painful to watch.

In Deen’s case, she looked like a woman on the verge of being committed while Weiner seemed like someone who is thoughtful about his image.  He made a convincing case for forgiveness.  Paula Deen’s effort so far is about as bad as it could get.

There is still hope for Paula Deen.  She didn’t become rich and famous simply by frying everything in sight.  She also has a personality that appeals to lots of Americans.  She could use that same Southern homespun persona that won her so many fans across the country to win them back again.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where social media is everything and impressions are made for good or bad in an instant.  If you want to be in the public eye, you have to be willing to accept and deal with the good and the bad.  Some days are likely to be really bad.  If you’re prone to fall apart at criticism, you probably should stay out of the spotlight.

In this case, Weiner’s follow-up effort gets an “A.”  Deen, so far (it’s early yet) gets an “F” for fiasco.

We’ll see what Deen does going forward.  If she can’t take the criticism directed at her s better than we’ve seen so far, she should probably take herself completely out of the public eye.  As the saying goes, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.


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  1. Fox News Fan
    Posted Jun 26 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    There goes Dee Dee again…half cocked without the actual facts.

    It’s obvious Dee Dee that you’ve never bothered to actually read the transcript of Paula Deen’s testimony. If you had, you wouldn’t have printed so many inaccuracies YET AGAIN!


    Too bad you don’t point out the Walmart exclusive Blue Ray DVD Django Unchained they are still selling. The hypocrisy from those companies is staggering!

    Even worse, Caesars let the Hangover film a 2nd movie there. Yeah, no racist jokes or other horrible things in those movies. But hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    Maybe before your next Paula Deen witch hunt, you will at least read the transcript and use some real facts instead of your reliance on the National Enquirer!

    Even Mark Lamont Hill earlier was making false claims to me about what was in the transcript. When I pointed out that they weren’t in there (even though he gave me the link) then it was a different story and he just wanted to drop it.

    I like U Dee Dee…but many times you go off half cocked…. and without the facts

  2. Tamela Pittman
    Posted Jun 27 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Paula Deen was not thinking of her career but with her heart. She was truly honest with her feelings and her love for people. Public eye or not, I like seeing the real tears and heartfelt sympathy she had for the hateful things that people were saying about her. It was cruel of the media to treat her like they did and I find it distasteful of people who can not forgive as she didn’t do any harm to hurt anyone. She is a real person with feelings and it shows. I think that the media should refrain from hurting her anymore. You guys bring on controversy and warrant or not you do it for the bucks!