In my ‘Reputation Management In The Internet Age’ workshops, I emphasise the importance of managing your personal and corporate character as well as just managing your reputation. In going ballistic at a Scientology interview subject, BBC reporter John Sweeney revealed an unsavoury element of his own character that does little to enhance his personal or professional reputation.Subsequently, he then shows little understanding of how make an emotionally mature and genuine public apology, that should fully and simply acknowledge the wrongs of his inappropriate actions.
Instead, Sweeney wants to defend his intimidatingly aggressive outburst by pointing out Scientology’s manifold organisational flaws and how their sustained provocation (possibly genuine) fuelled his rant.
He ingenuously describes the ‘cult’s’ widespread release of his ‘ape’ footage as an ‘attack video’. John; in the clip and probably your programme, you’re the one doing the attacking. As a media man, Sweeney surely has to accept that the footage is editorial ‘gold’.
Sweeney’s spin on his meltdown is that he looks like an exploding tomato and sounds like a jet engine; this attempt at humorous self-deprecation doesn’t hide what he really looked like: A highly aggressive monster trying to bully, intimidate and lord it over another person.
Sweeney makes a living trying to self-righteously expose the actions of those he deems to be ‘suspect’ (not the only one!); ironic that, in his endeavours, he has revealed highly suspect elements of his own character. And it’s moved him nearer to the top of the pile for ‘Public Relations Disasters’ Vol 2.
By way of disclosure, I’m neither a Scientologist nor journo.