For analyzing image restoration, I will use Professor Benoit’s example of the Bill Clinton scandal. Prior to my research, the only knowledge I had of the incident was from memory. I can remember the initial public outcry following the accusations. It was the most prolific event I had experienced up to that point in my life. The attention from the media and the public was justifiably profound, but at my age it was shocking.
In a deposition for the Paula Jones law suit, Clinton testified he never had sexual relations with his former intern Monica Lewinsky. Allegations were being made that contradicted the Presidents statements and pressure was escalating. Clinton followed Professor Benoit’s process of image restoration in this case by denying he had done anything wrong. He was resilient in his effort to deny the allegations. In one of the most infamous statements in U.S. history the former president addressed a national audience declaring, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Following Benoit’s model, evidence was released that forced Clinton to admit the accusations were true. His image was significantly tarnished and the restoration process took several years. Despite attempting to deny the incident and being impeached, Clinton was removed as president with a 65% approval rating, a promising statistic for the image restoration process. He apologized to the public, and used the practice of mortification as best he could.
One aspect of contribution to Clinton’s image restoration process was his ability to communicate. Like most successful politicians, Clinton was an outstanding public speaker. The impeachment occurred in 1998, and by 2009 Clinton had made $51 million in public speaking fees. I would assume he addressed his impeachment in the majority of his appearances, giving him the opportunity to express remorse and try to gain back his public reputation. Another thing to consider which worked in Clinton’s favor was blame being shifted. In this case, blame was being shifted to Lewinsky, for the most part. However, a lot of the focus was aimed at the media and its unwavering pursuit to gain more information. A Harvard professor spoke of this issue stating “The public is frustrated with the inability of the parties to focus on the public questions that matter the most. And after a time, the frustration feeds disillusion. Detachment is driven by an entertainment-driven style of media coverage.” This served Clinton’s image restoration immensely. Today, you hardly hear of Clinton pertaining to the scandal or his impeachment. He has sparked new areas of debate and is still a public figure in the area of politics.
“Professor William Benoit Summarizes His Image Repair Theory (HD).” YouTube. YouTube. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Staff, TIME. “Where Are They Now: The Clinton Impeachment.” Time. Time Inc., 9 Jan. 2009. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Washington Post. The Washington Post. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.