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Disaster 'spin'

September 18, 2008

Re "Effort to rebuild trust backfires," Sept. 16

My hat is off to Denise Tyrrell. It's obvious that her Metrolink bosses are more concerned about her straight talk providing ammunition for the coming lawsuits than about being candid and responsible to the public they serve. Tyrrell showed great courage at a time of great tragedy, and paid the price.

The public is tired of getting snow jobs from their leaders -- and would-be leaders -- cloaked in the spin of blizzards of words. These leaders would do well to emulate Tyrrell's example, or they may very well find themselves out of a job, just as Tyrrell is today.

Jon Rowe

Costa Mesa

Years ago, I was doing a real estate transaction in Seattle. The law firm that I employed was also representing Exxon in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which devastated Alaska's coastline.

The employees of the law firm were instructed to refer to the incident as "the alleged oil spill."

What a breath of fresh air.

Robert J. Irmas


The Times reveals how the lack of professionalism on the part of Metrolink's former spokesperson, Denise Tyrrell, has put her employer between a rock and a hard place.

As a public relations professional, I applaud her desire to "rebuild public trust" and "be honest and upfront," but I am dismayed by her failure to control an apparently emotional reaction to an issue that has significant legal liability ramifications for her employer.

Tyrrell gave the wrong strategic counsel to her CEO and issued an irresponsible statement before any official investigation was conducted. She could have communicated sympathy and concern on the part of Metrolink as well as a desire to determine the cause of the accident in her statement without "spinning."

Although I am no fan of Metrolink, I absolutely cringed at Tyrrell's comment about being treated like an "overwhelmed, menopausal woman." Let's get the emotion and stereotypes out of this and focus on truly professional public relations practices.

Mary Blake

Redondo Beach

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