Your city has just been devastated by a massive natural disaster. So what do you do? Why, you swear on local radio and condemn the president of the United States, of course.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, employing several colorful expletives, went on a local AM radio station Friday to condemn the president and federal authorities whom he believed had botched the rescue operation.
And maybe they had. That remains to be seen. The fact is, an unprecedented amount of supplies were arriving almost as he was on the air. Still, questions remain of FEMA and state emergency agencies, and they will be answered in due time.
While it may be understandable for Nagin to react emotionally to a delay in supplies reaching the beleaguered city, it's not okay to lash out publicly in this manner during a crisis if he's it's leader.
Whether you're the spokesman of a company in trouble or a city in chaos, it's important to convey calm and control, and if urgency needs to be conveyed, it should be done calmly, competently, forcefully and eloquently.
For a public official to publicly "lose it" is the worst possible outcome. It conveys a sense of panic in the individual, and does not reasure others that all will turn out well in the end.
Regardless of the circumstance, a crisis management spokesman must keep his or her "cool" at all times.