PR playing a key role in the S&P downgrade story

Even before Standard & Poor’s announced its decision on Friday, the message framing began and continued throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, it’s done little to calm the markets.

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The fight for public opinion started before Standard & Poor even went public with its decision.

When the credit-rating agency notified the White House of the downgrade on Friday, administration officials quickly noted an error in S&P’s numbers. The agency had miscalculated the projected effects of the debt-ceiling deal struck by Congress last week, an error acknowledged by S&P.

The Treasury Department asked S&P to delay its announcement until officials could review the numbers; however, as reported by Playbook (via PRNewser):

S&P said it was going ahead with the announcement because the news media were expecting it! In their view, they had promised something, and they seemed to be extremely interested in going out with it.

In light of the flawed numbers, the credit agency rewrote its press release on the downgrade to focus more on politics, according to Politico. In its final release, S&P said:

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