Paula Broadwell, Dee Dee Myers and The “Spokesperson” Deception

Paula or Dee Dee: Who do you trust?

Paula or Dee Dee: Who do you trust?

Speaking on behalf of Paula Broadwell, the ambitious siren whose pulchritude and sycophancy combined with David Petraeus’ vanity and mid-life crisis to wreck his career and reputation, Dee Dee Myers told the news media that “the Justice Department thoroughly looked at [allegations that Broadwell had threatened Jill Kelley in the e-mails that exposed Broadwell’s affair with the general] and declined to prosecute,” a decision that “makes a pretty bold statement about the content of the emails…People can make their own judgments based on that.”

Well done, Dee Dee! This is masterful deceit, not that I would expect less from a Clinton Administration veteran. There lies the central ethics rot in Myers’ current career as a reputation doctor and PR consultant with the Glover Park group, and particularly with her role of spokesperson, when the client is innately unbelievable and the spokesperson is not.

As Howard Kurtz reveals in The Daily Beast, the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute was substantially, if not primarily, determined by the fact that Jill Kelley, the Petraeus friend who was the target of Broadwell’s e-mails, declined to press charges, which would have made prosecution difficult. Myers’ statement intentionally, and falsely, left the impression that the decision by Justice meant that the e-mails were not, in fact, malign. The “People can make their own judgments based on that” part was an especially neat touch.

What is happening here and in other such cases (Dee Dee is not the only one) is that an individual who has built some level of public trust has hired herself out as a public substitute for someone like Broadwell, who has no credibility whatsoever. That individual then engages in deception, dishonesty or deceit for the benefit of her client, saying the same kind of misleading things her client would say, only better. Since the words come out of the mouth of a well-known Presidential staff member and media pundit who presumably <cough! gag!=””> tells the truth, it instantly benefits the untrusted client. In essence, the spokesperson has rented out her credibility to allow a liar to lie more effectively.

Is this a great country or what?

If you have integrity, you don’t sell your integrity and let others ride on it. Myers can argue that as “a spokesperson,” what she is saying aren’t her sentiments, but those of who she is peaking for. Riiiiiight. Dee Dee didn’t say, “Ms. Broadwell believes  this decision makes a pretty bold statement..” Myers said it makes a pretty bold statement, and she almost certainly knew that the statement wasn’t what her audience would think it was, the real statement being, “these e-mails may be threatening, but if the main witness won’t press charges, we’ve got better things to do than pursue this.”

True: this is similar to what lawyers do when they represent criminal defendants, but there is a key distinction. Lawyers are representatives and advocates, not spokespersons. Everyone knows, or should know, that they are representing the legal position of their clients, and that when a lawyer says a client’s not guilty, it means 1) my client hasn’t been proven guilty 2) my client says he’s not guilty, or 3) you don’t know that my client is guilty yet, as well as “my client really isn’t guilty.” Lawyers are lawyers, and the most admired and respected lawyer in the world isn’t going to be taken literally when he professes his clients’ innocence. The spokesperson, however, is different. If the spokesman is known for speaking the truth, what that spokesperson says on behalf of her client will be taken as the truth, because of who the spokesperson is. That creates an ethical obligation for the spokesperson not to spin the truth and intentionally mislead, using her own credibility to do it.

That is what Dee Dee Meyers did. That’s what too many spokespersons do.

And it’s unethical.

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Source: The Daily Beast

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Filed under Character, Journalism & Media, Professions

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