Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ecstatic? Thrilled? How To Tell the Media You're Happy, When Others Are Still Suffering

Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara reacts to verdict. (Source:
While people debate whether justice was carried out in the George Zimmerman trial, I am still trying to get my head around the reaction of his lawyer, Mark O'Mara, to the verdict. I am not talking about his claim that that the media did a poor job covering the case. Most PR professionals know you should never criticize the media unless they made a serious error which you need to correct. (At best, blasting reporters will damage your relationship with them in the future; at worst, it will cause them to investigate how you do your job.)

But the issue that bothered me was how O'Mara said he was "ecstatic" with the verdict. He didn't look ecstatic, and it doesn't seem like the appropriate emotion to express. After all, at the end of the day, his client did kill Trayvon Martin. What would have been a better word to use? Reporters and publicists often face this question as they try to describe a reaction to controversial news that involved another's suffering. Thrilled? No, that is way to happy, and sometimes can sound sarcastic. Pleased? That is always a safe bet, but doesn't express much emotion. Maybe saying he had mixed emotions? Something like: "We are pleased that our client was acquitted, but we also know that this decision may hurt many who loved or identified with Trayvon Martin. We just ask that we leave George Zimmerman alone as he tries to move on as best he can, and as a country, work together to heal our wounds and help prevent future tragedies."

What do you think about that kind of response? Ecstatic? Thrilled? Disappointed? Please share your thoughts.

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