Randall Samborn, spokesman for Patrick Fitzgerald, may have the most unusual challenge in PR. How do you present a client who is prosecuting a publisher and throws a reporter in jail? How do you defend your client to the press when your adversaries can put all nature of spin in the press and the rules of the court prohibit you from responding?
Throughout this controversy, Fitzgerald has been pilloried as a threat to the first amendment for compelling journalists to disclose their sources. Samborn could have responded that these very same journalists were perfectly happy to throw Richard Clark under the bus. Why did he refrain from pointing out their hypocrisy? I can only assume that he decided that it was better to put the focus on the case itself, that the journalists had information vital to an investigation touching on national security. Ultimately their prior hypocrisy did not come into it.
Samborn did an excellent job in placing the very favorable Vanity Fair article that humanized Fitzgerald with its tales of bad housekeeping. It gave the public a brief view of the famous prosecutor, satisfying the public’s curiosity.
I hope Samborn has a chance to speak publicly about this case. How do you make reporters and the public feel that you are being responsive when all you can say is no comment? How do you put a damper on speculation? How did handling the public relations of this case compare to other high profile prosecutions?
I also have questions about the Special Counsel’s website. How is it designed? What was the procedure for putting documents on the site? How did they make sure the copy on the website was the final copy of the document? How did they plan for the great surge in site traffic at the time of the original indictment?
I hope it will be possible to make this information public.