Thursday, July 12, 2012
When is the public owed an explanation for a leader's absence? Here is what appears to be a clear-cut case. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr suddenly disappeared weeks ago and is reported to be under medical treatment. His office and his people are silent about what the problem(s) might be. The citizens in his district at least should know whether he is well enough to continue service or whether he should consider stepping down. This is similar to the silence that surrounded Steve Jobs in his last months at Apple. Jobs and the board failed to let shareholders know his true condition. On the other hand, Jobs appointed a successor and ensured continuance of the company. Jackson's seat is in a never-never land. No one knows what to do and even his fellow congressmen are asking for him to clarify his situation. From a PR perspective, Jackson's silence is a mistake and the longer he remains quiet, the worse it will be for him.