Lack of Communication Turns Air Force One Photo Op Into Panic-Inducing PR Nightmare


If you wanted to stage an Air Force One aerial photo mission, which city would you choose to send in low-flying planes for the photos you were after? Certainly, after the tragedy of 9/11, you would eliminate New York City from your list of possibilities right away. Apparently, Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, thought otherwise. His lack of communication about the photo op caused widespread panic in NYC.

The badly communicated Air Force One photo opportunity was more than five years ago, but lower Manhattan office building workers still remember the day they thought they were witnessing a repeat of 9/11. A Boeing 747 and F-16 fighter jet buzzed low over New York City, circling the financial district for half an hour as people panicked below, evacuating buildings and fleeing for cover.

Caldera took full responsibility for the panic-inducing PR nightmare. After all, he’s the one who approved the New York City location for the photo op. He stated that “federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, [yet] the mission [still] created confusion and disruption.” Following the line of authority down, it appeared that a City Hall deputy, Marc Mugnos, was at fault for not passing on information about the FAA fly-over to the mayor.

Apparently, the reason behind the stunt was to create souvenir pictures of the custom Boeing 747, which acts as Air Force One when the president is aboard. However, the president was not aboard during the aerial photo mission. In fact, President Obama was “furious” when he heard about the incident and called a special meeting with Caldera, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina. Sources indicate it was not a fun meeting.

Clearly, a lack of communication can be detrimental to public safety and land those responsible in a heap of trouble. Help your company avoid embarrassing and potentially harmful communication breakdowns by contacting Hurley Write, Inc .

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