J.D. “Jim” Fox
Former FBI Director James Comey is the most fascinating character of our perilous times. He arguably prevented the election of one presidential candidate, then got fired by the one who did win.
Comey is obviously very concerned with his own public image as a straight-up lawman, having already published an explanatory book and now writing regular op-eds for the New York Times.
And Lordy (as he would say), his latest piece made my head spin. Titled “How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Barr,” he argues that service in the Cabinet (and especially in the Department of Justice) amounts to real-time cannibalism of the soul.
As I read and reread and sent his latest piece to everyone I know, it wasn’t just his description of the transformation of qualified professionals into very public yes-men and women that got to me. It was the realization that I’ve also walked this walk, albeit to a lesser degree. Haven’t you?
I’ve done PR in lots of different sectors (including government), and can think back on many occasions in which I helped not only put the best possible face on things, but also prevented leaders from displaying what I knew to be their true selves. Just doing my job, you think? How far have you gone?
Comey argues that the attorney general and departing deputy attorney general lack the “inner strength” to stand up for what’s right versus what’s politically expedient. And, Lordy, there’s ample reserves of people who fit that description filling the chairs on cable shows (and Tweeting relentlessly).
A friend of mine came up with a better way to describe what’s going on, with obvious lessons for us in the trenches of PR: “What happens to people who have lost their soul? A sad, sorry walk towards nothing.”
About the Author: J.D. “Jim” Fox is Head Coach at Next Act Coaching. https://nextactcoaching.net/