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Roger Clemens in Crisis Mode; 60 Minutes + Press Conference

clemens on 60 min.jpg

(grab of Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes, this Sunday)

Back from the Holidays, post-Iowa, the Mitchell Report’s wallop will be felt again this Sunday when Roger Clemens appears on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace.

The exclusive, taped, one-on-one will be followed by a press conference the following day in Houston. From a PR perspective, it will serve to fill in any gaps left by the Wallace spot. Expect it to be carried live on cable news, and attended by reporters who have followed his career for decades. Then expect a period of quiet from Mr. Rocket.

Clemens and his lawyer are being handled by seasoned PR pro Joe Householder of Public Strategies Inc. Householder is a the former director of communications for Hillary Clinton and a quick web search shows his involvement in some big crisis work since joining the firm (see Whole Foods vs. Wild Oats bungle).

The PR aspects have become more interesting in the last 24 hours, with the New York Times digging deeper in to Wallace’s recollection of the taping, and the issue over injections vs illegal injections.

Jon Friedman from Marketwatch.com among others expect a game of softball with the Clemens’s “friend” Wallace as interviewer, and the Houston Chronicle was obliged to ask Householder if Clemens was paid by CBS for the exclusive.

Point taken about Wallace, though Guilty or not, Clemens is not a pregnant member of the Spears family. Householder et al would risk the ability to get the interview they want if money changed hands. There’s far more at stake than a quick payday.

We checked with CBS’s PR department on these concerns and were referred to 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager who told us “Wallace is probably the is probably the best interviewer there ever was, and you’ll see another example of why that’s true this Sunday.”

In cases like these, every news outlet on the planet extends an exclusive offer.

The crisis expert has a visualized outcome in mind and works to achieve it by putting out feelers, sifting through offers and getting as close to the target as possible. The client is carefully prepped and every possible curveball anticipated.

My opinion is colored by my masochistic love of the Mets, so going with Wallace over Larry “damage control” King appears to me as one of personality.

The Rocket is a cantankerous bat-throwing fellow who might slip, or God forbid, come off as boring and cold on the longer format King interview. We’ll keep an eye out for Householder’s touch. It’ll be tough to spot with such a tricky game of pickle.

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