Companies and the reporters who cowl them routinely discover themselves at odds, notably when the tales being chased are unflattering or convey undesirable consideration to a business’s dealings, or, within the firm’s estimation, merely inaccurate.
Many corporations combat again, which is why disaster communications is a very huge and profitable business. Still, how a firm fights again issues. And in line with disaster communications professionals who TechCrunch spoke with this afternoon, a new post on Oracle’s company weblog misses the mark, as did the corporate’s associated follow-up on social media.
In truth, the writer of the put up, an Oracle government named Ken Glueck, a 25-year-long veteran of the corporate, has been temporarily suspended by Twitter, the corporate instructed Gizmodo this afternoon, after encouraging his followers to harass a feminine reporter.
The bother ties to a series of pieces by the news web site The Intercept about how a “network of local resellers helps funnel Oracle technology to the police and military in China,” and Oracle’s response to the items.
While it isn’t unusual for corporations to put up responses to media tales on their very own platforms (in addition to to take out ads in mainstream media retailers), the disaster execs with whom we spoke — they requested to not be named as they work with corporations like Oracle — had some observations that is perhaps useful to Oracle sooner or later.
Rule primary: don’t draw consideration unnecessarily to work that you simply would possibly choose didn’t exist. Oracle’s latest put up doesn’t hyperlink again to the brand new Intercept story that Glueck works to dismantle, however in an earlier post in regards to the first Intercept story that ran in February, Glueck hyperlinks to the story on Oracle’s weblog within the very first sentence of his response, even sharing its title: “How Oracle Sells Repression in China.”
“How many of Oracle’s customers or employees saw [The Intercept piece] and didn’t give a damn and now he’s drawing attention to it?” famous one exec we’d interviewed in the present day.
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Rule quantity two: Don’t assault reporters; assault (in case you should) the outlet. In Glueck’s first diatribe towards The Intercept over its February piece, he mentions the outlet 26 times and the writer of the piece as soon as. In Glueck’s latest salvo towards The Intercept, he refers to its writer, reporter Mara Hvistendahl, 22 times — largely by her first title — and even invitations readers of Oracle’s weblog to achieve out to him, writing in boldface: “If you have any information about Mara or her reporting, write me securely at kglueck AT protonmail.com.”
Though Glueck has since mentioned the call-out was a tongue-in-cheek gesture, it was subsequently eliminated from the put up, probably owing to its “sinister tone” as noticed by one in every of our consultants. “No one likes a bully,” mentioned this comms professional, including that “bullying conveys weakness.”
Rule quantity three: Know your function. By lashing out in what’s a plainly derisive tone to The Intercept’s piece, in addition to persevering with to doubling down on its assault towards Hvistendahl on social media afterward, Glueck’s technique grew to become much less and fewer clear, in line with one of many disaster specialists we spoke with.
“You can do what Ken did and mock” the reporter, mentioned this individual, “but is that going to stop The Intercept from continuing to do stories about Oracle? And what is the reaction of other media? Are they scared off by [what happened today] or are they going to circle the wagons?” (Below: a word from an L.A. Times reporter to Glueck in the present day in response to his name for details about Hvistendahl.)
Rule 4: Keep it quick. Two of the professionals we spoke with in the present day counseled Glueck’s writing type, calling it each fluid and humorous. Both additionally noticed that his response was far too lengthy. “I just couldn’t get through it,” mentioned one.
Last rule: Find one other manner if potential. The disaster consultants we spoke with mentioned it’s superb to first work with a reporter, then the reporter’s editor if vital, and if it involves it, contain attorneys, of which Oracle absolutely has loads. “That’s the chain of appeal if a reporter has gotten a story blatantly wrong,” mentioned one supply.
Very probably, Glueck determined to throw out this rulebook by design. Oracle tends to do things its own way, and Glueck may be very a lot a product of that tradition. Indeed, the WSJ wrote a 1,300-word profile about Glueck final yr, calling him a “potent weapon” for Oracle.
As for Hvistendahl, she suggests there may be another excuse Oracle took the route that it did.
In a assertion despatched to us earlier, she writes that “Ken Glueck has published two lengthy blog posts attacking me and my editor, Ryan Tate. But Oracle has not refuted my central finding, which is that the company marketed its analytics software for use by police in China. Oracle also hasn’t refuted our reporting on Oracle’s sale and marketing of its analytics software to police elsewhere in the world. We found evidence of Oracle selling or marketing analytics software to police in Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, and the UAE. In Brazil, my colleague Tatiana Dias uncovered police contracts between Oracle and Rio de Janeiro’s notoriously corrupt Civil Police.”