Spreading Bad News, Whether True Or False

If you don’t have anything nice to say, get a job on television. Polling for WirthlinWorldwide indicates it’s the medium through which people are most likely to get a negative report about an institution (see the chart). E-mail ranked relatively low on the list, even though the polling was confined to people who use the Internet. However, the ease with which negative e-mail can be disseminated makes it a special concern for corporations. What do people do when they get e-mail that badmouths “an issue, organization or company”? Forty percent delete or ignore it. Many of the rest conduct an online search (44 percent) or consult a newspaper or magazine to check on its accuracy (32 percent); 34 percent talk to friends about it. But 13 percent forward it to friends without having tried to verify it.