Petraeus follows crisis PR textbook—but will it help?

The Friday release of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus’s resignation hit on key crisis PR points, but the story could become a runaway crisis for the administration.

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It’s hard to say, because the political and media world is only now getting a grasp on the scope of the story.

However, Petraeus has followed the crisis PR textbook, according to several public relations professionals.

Unlike when elected officials resign in disgrace and seem to drag it on for weeks with denials and tearful press conferences—see: Anthony Wiener—the retired Army general issued a statement that identified the reason for his stepping down (an extramarital affair) and owned up to it.

“I’ve got to give him credit for exercising military precision and immediately stepping down when he made the affair public,” said Gil Rudawsky, a crisis PR counselor (and PR Daily contributor).

The affair with his biographer is an unfortunate turn—not to mention a family tragedy—for a public servant who may have had presidential aspirations, but the way in which he handled the resignation hit on key crisis PR points.

Whether that minimizes the fallout from the news is another story.

Dropping bad news on a Friday

During a relatively quiet afternoon on Friday—with the media and the public recovering from the long 2012 presidential election—Petraeus issued his resignation as director of the CIA. It began:

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