Yes – Mark Borkowski, Media commentator and publicist
Can a personality survive the sort of scandal enveloping the beleaguered FIA president, Max Mosley? Of course, but it all depends on their attitude to how the media are reporting the story. It is an unenviable situation of deep personal pain. At least Max can afford good PR counsel but the million-dollar question is: can he trust the pilot to steer him through these stormy waters?
Honesty must overwhelm hubris – fighting a losing battle will compound distress – while posturing legal threats are meaningless without determination and will. A strategy of moving forward is to embrace the power of media – particularly 24 /7 television – and find friends to articulate the invasion of privacy. The game was on before publication. Mosley needed an artful publicist to bargain then because once the story breaks there is little you can do. The rebuilding starts with clear internal communication. It is essential to get the people nearest to you to comprehend the real issues. People who trust and respect you help communicate the positives to rebuild a broken image while aggressive posturing will only provide a platform for the opposition . If you say: “I’m going to fight it in court,” be aware you are providing a reason for newspapers to come and sting you again.
If Mosley is going to threaten legal action, he cannot just snarl and show his teeth – he has to go for it and make sure the arguments are carefully constructed. But even if Max feels there are anomalies within their story – and he has strenuously denied there was any Nazi element to the sex scandal – the legal process is an expensive, long battle. And if the paper loses a legal fight, the apologies are never the same size as the original story.
Although things look black, stories come and go and personalities must pray a bigger story takes them off the media agenda. The soap opera surrounding the Shannon Matthews abduction and the Diana inquest verdict, for example, both provided relief this week.
The key to rebuilding is to let the story die down before going on the offensive. In the meantime, he needs to collect a series of messages to be digested by the media to underline his position and treatment by the News of the World. It is vital to hold your head up and be bigger than the slur . Look for a friendly paper and TV spot then use them to let the world understand your point of view. But he will need to develop a very thick skin because only 75% of people will ever believe his argument. If all else fails I hear that they are looking for guests for the next edition of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.
Mark Borkowski’s ‘The Fame Formula’ will be published by Macmillan in August