Why is good messaging so hard?

A somewhat off-topic post about Tiger Woods hiring Ari Fleischer

I have been very critical of the scientist at the center of the email maelstrom (e-mailstrom?) — Phil Jones — “for adopting the Tiger Woods approach to media relations” (see With science journalism “basically going out of existence,” how should climate scientists deal with well-funded, anti-science disinformation campaign?).

Jones is now talking to the media, of course, which gets filed in the be-careful-what-you-wish-for-category because “he is not terribly adept at answering questions, particularly the inane trick-questions from the disinformers” (see BBC asks CRU’s Phil Jones the climate version of “When did you stop beating your wife”).


s a (former) fan of Mr. Woods (though ongoing admirer of his golf game), I am going to reprint this Think Progress piece and mostly leave it at that. I am filing this under humor and do think it would have been a perfect April 1 or The Onion story:


The New York Post reports that golfer Tiger Woods has hired former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer to help repair his public image:

“Two sources in the golf community have told The Post that Ari Fleischer, the former presidential advisor to George W. Bush and the man who was brought in to help repair the steroid-shattered image of Mark McGwire, has been huddling with Woods, plotting a strategy for his return to golf “” at the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting March 25 at Bay Hill in Orlando. “They were in his living room this week going over a strategy for how to handle Bay Hill in two weeks,” one source told The Post.”

Since his time as President Bush’s top spinmeister, Fleischer has become a consultant for the sports industry. Fleischer has advised Mark McGwire on his return to baseball and public admission about using steroids, the Green Bay Packers on “how to deal with the fallout from their breakup with Brett Favre” in 2008, and “college football’s BCS on how to repair an image that has been ridiculed.”


Has Woods even looked at Bush’s or McGwire’s reputation now? McGwire actually asserted this year that taking steroids didn’t help him break the home run record, which has kept him a subject of disbelief in the sports community. Does Woods get that merely hiring Fleischer would lead to another round of ridicule and jokes — and undermine any effort to rehabilitate his image?

It just goes to show you that messaging is hard and even uber-talented mega-sports figures don’t get it.