by Roger Pynn
On his way to cover Congressional hearings where Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was scheduled to testify about the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer couldn’t quite understand why the government was not releasing figures on how many Americans had successfully signed up for the new insurance plans … suggesting that plenty of people inside the government already know the answer and that the information would surely leak.
“When you have bad news to report, it’s better to report it yourself rather than let your critics report it,” said Blitzer.
That probably goes for any situation, but when media that have been accused of being biased in your favor are now standing over you glaring and drooling while you lie flat on your back and bleeding it may not matter. Would Blitzer and his colleagues not pounce on more bad news?
The real lessons here will probably mirror those learned by Nixon in the 70s, albeit not likely with such harsh results. The time to be candid is at the outset, And while if others are to blame, it never hurts to accept responsibility and be accountable for everything you do.
We preach that every day in Curley & Pynn’s Five Steps to Professional Success. That works in government, as well as public relations and just about any human endeavor.
To the Secretary’s credit, she made this statement in her opening remarks:
“I am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov,” she said. So let me say directly to these Americans: You deserve better. I apologize. I’m accountable to you for fixing these problems.”