Investigation dropped, Armstrong can take a PR victory lap

During the two-year doping probe, the seven-time Tour de France winner’s PR defense was artful, says the author.

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In contrast to the government’s headline-grabbing announcement two years ago that it planned to investigate Armstrong’s alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, the feds on Friday quietly dropped the case for lack of evidence.

It started making the rounds with the media on Wednesday, but the news was a whisper compared with the crescendo it reached when the case was announced. It’s one of the failings of the media, and a lesson for clients: The launching of an investigation—or the filing of a civil suit—often gets more press than its resolution.

It was only by chance that someone found out this case had been dropped. Many cases simply get tucked away with nary a word, leaving people to wonder what happened—if they haven’t forgotten about them altogether.

We work hard to help clients understand that the government, which media outlets regularly criticize for alleged waste and wrongdoing, gets a free pass when it announces investigations. It gets back to the cliché of being guilty until proven innocent.

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