When You Get Misreported in the Media

There’s always an immediate gut reaction when you see false information about you or your company. Your palms get sweaty, your temperature rises, and you see red, usually before you even know the full story. It’s one thing to be talked bad about, but flat out lies or untruths? Unacceptable!

Also, it’s one thing if it’s some random person on the Internet. They may not have all that much sway over public opinion. But what if it’s a major online publication or a national magazine? That’s enough to send you into major panic mode!

So what do you do when the media just flat out gets it wrong about you? Does an immediate reaction help or does careful consideration before responding do more good?

Assess the Situation

It’s true we live in a breakneck packed world. When it comes to information it’s impossible to keep up with everything flying at your face all day long. Look at CNN and Fox, who both recently reported the wrong facts about the Supreme Court’s ruling on healthcare. Even if you’re not on the Internet very much you still get a boatload of info from various sources, including from your friends who have been on the Internet all day long!

So it would seem like the best possible reaction to learning you’ve been misrepresented by a media outlet is to immediately react. After all, if people are going to know the false story, they need to hear your side of the story ASAP, right?

Well, that’s sort of true. You do need to get your side of the story out there ASAP – but you should also remember the last two letters of that acronym. “As possible” doesn’t necessarily mean the very second you learn about the error. It means whenever you’re ready and have everything in order.

There’s no harm in taking a minute to assess the situation (and calm your nerves). Unless the reporter is right in your face at the office demanding a retort, you have the benefit of collecting your thoughts. Doing so can help you craft the best answer possible.


One important thing to remember is that just because the information in the publication was wrong doesn’t mean it’s a malicious attack against your company. Sometimes it’s just somebody goofing up.

Hanlon’s Razor is an adage that reads, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Now I don’t know if I would call the reporter or whoever messed up “stupid,” but they may have rushed to print before checking facts. Again, we live in a crazy fast world, and not everything that goes out to the public is on the up and up.

Considering this may help you on exactly how to respond. You wouldn’t yell and scream at someone because they made a simple mistake – correcting them in a calm manner will do much better. This is why you should always take a second to assess the whole landscape when something like this happens, as overreacting may cause you further trouble.

What do you usually do when you see false information about yourself or your company?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here:

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