I was just writing this blog about Facts4Lance.com when I heard it had been taken down. As you may know, it was a site maintained by Mark Fabiani, Lance’s PR lawyer or whatever the official title is. And it could possibly be the worst PR I have ever seen. With friends like this, who needs enemies? So I am not surprised it was taken down.
Across the top of the site they had the headlines of articles countering the major claims currently playing in the media. But when you see “Why X doesn’t have credibility”, “Why Y doesn’t have credibility”, “Why Z is wrong”, etc, etc, etc, you get the feeling there is so much out there that it can’t all be wrong. I am sure that wasn’t the effect they were going for.
If you proceeed and read the stories behind the headlines, you’ll notice they are all either circular logic or evading the question. It goes something like this:
- We state that Floyd is lying now because he was lying in the past
- Because we state that, Floyd has been discredited
- Because Floyd has been discredited, you can’t believe what he says
- Hamilton confirms what Floyd says
- Floyd is discredited, so Hamilton is discredited
I guess this is textbook PR in some circles, but step back a bit and it’s just nonsense. It basically means that even if the Dalai Lama comes out and says he saw Lance take EPO, it can’t be true because he is saying the same thing as Floyd and everything Floyd says is a lie (Yes I know, I wouldn’t trust that either as I just can’t picture the Dalai Lama in Lycra sitting next to Lance).
The other theme is evading the question. Floyd and Hamilton claim that Lance and the UCI made a test go away at the Swiss lab in 2001. The response is that there is a letter from the UCI confirming that there was no positive test reported to the UCI or the IOC. On the one hand, using one of the accused to prove your innocence is a bit awkward (it’s like having Fuentes confirm to the authorities that that’s not your dog), but regardless, it doesn’t even get to the point. If the accusation is that the positive test was made to disappear at the lab, then it never made it to the UCI or IOC so of course there is no record of it there.
Now, everybody is innocent until proven guilty, and accusations are just that, accusations. There is no requirement to respond to them at all, there is not even a requirement to respond with proper arguments once you decide to respond. But if you want to win in the court of public opinion, I’m not sure this will work.
Then again, it could just be yet more proof that this simplistic approach works and that I know %$#^ all about PR.
What did you think of the site? Did you ever visit it? Did it help or hinder Lance?