PR Blunders Spotlighted As Lesson

Firing a driver for jackknifing his truck to save lives rather than crashing into halted cars: Conway Truck Loading Services. Targeting college students with a catalog featuring the article "Drinking 101": Abercrombie & Fitch. Evading outcries over a new sitcom making light of slavery: United Paramount Network. These rank among the snafu's making the "Top 10 PR Blunders of '98" list, by San Francisco-based Fineman Assoc. Public Relations. Fineman publishes the lists yearly, not to degrade or punish, but as a reminder of the critical role of public relations for businesses and organizations. This list's top three "winners":

  • Texas cattlemen for filing a libel lawsuit against Oprah Winfrey. Questions about beef safety and industry practices made national headlines daily during the ensuing court battle.
  • The NBA, for throwing a lockout while bickering over already-astronomical salaries.
  • The IRS, for declaring that fans who caught a Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa home-run ball would be liable for a six-figure gift tax -- although it later relented.

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