How to respond when the media gets it wrong

Media organizations have tarred and feathered people and companies for offenses they didn’t commit. Here’s how to prevent or respond when it happens to you.

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Although the media are often right, you probably don’t need much convincing that they have convicted innocent people far too many times:

• After the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing that killed one person and injured more than 100, the media presented local security guard Richard Jewell as the likely culprit. He was innocent.

• Many outlets implied that California Rep. Gary Condit was involved in the death of intern Chandra Levy, who disappeared in Washington, DC in 2001. Although the two had a sexual relationship, Mr. Condit was innocent.

• In 2006, three male Duke University lacrosse players were accused of raping a female student at a house party. The media portrayed them as out-of-control, entitled athletes. They were innocent.

When the media have you in their sights, it can be difficult to mount a successful defense. But there are at least three tactics that can help you survive the glare of the media spotlight:

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