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Avow or Avoid?: The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCom
Unformatted Document Text:  Avow or Avoid? 14 trading counterparties, and enhance our ability to pay our creditors” (Enron files, Dec. 2, 2001, para. 11). Everyone was confident the company could be put back on solid footing. The company appreciated the support of its lenders in allowing it to remain in operation and was “fully committed to meeting our obligations to our creditors as best we can” (Enron arranges, Dec. 3, 2001, para. 3). In its response to Andersen’s testimony, Enron noted that it had always been open with the accountancy firm. As for one particular entity that Andersen said it was unaware of, Enron stated that company management, not Andersen, had discovered the arrangement and reported it to Andersen within 24 hours. In addition, Enron reported it to the special investigative committee of its board, which had separate counsel and separate accountants. “Enron is determined to get to the bottom of these issues and began work on that effort before Andersen’s advice” (Enron responds, Dec. 12, 2001, para. 4). For the most part the news coverage mimicked the releases. Enron was exploring options to preserve its core business and to emerge as a viable company. The New York Times painted Enron as a victim who had been left in the lurch by Dynegy. The newspaper quoted Jeff McMahon as saying, “It’s fair to say that we thought we had a deal several times, and the goal posts definitely kept moving on us” (Oppel & Sorkin, Nov. 29, 2001, para. 19). The Dynegy lawsuit did serve to deflect discussion away from Enron’s accounting woes and onto the failed merger. However, most of the coverage was sympathetic with Dynegy’s position (Dynegy cancels, Nov. 29, 2001; Dynegy leaves Enron, Nov. 29, 2001). The Associated Press reported that Dynegy claimed Enron’s lawsuit was an example of the company failing to accept responsibility for its decline (Babineck, Dec. 3, 2001). And the New York Times reported Dynegy’s comments that Enron was attempting to deflect attention from the facts (Oppel & Sorkin, Dec. 3, 2001).

Authors: Reber, Bryan. and Gower, Karla.
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Avow or Avoid?
14
trading counterparties, and enhance our ability to pay our creditors” (Enron files, Dec. 2, 2001,
para. 11). Everyone was confident the company could be put back on solid footing. The
company appreciated the support of its lenders in allowing it to remain in operation and was
“fully committed to meeting our obligations to our creditors as best we can” (Enron arranges,
Dec. 3, 2001, para. 3).
In its response to Andersen’s testimony, Enron noted that it had always been open with
the accountancy firm. As for one particular entity that Andersen said it was unaware of, Enron
stated that company management, not Andersen, had discovered the arrangement and reported it
to Andersen within 24 hours. In addition, Enron reported it to the special investigative
committee of its board, which had separate counsel and separate accountants. “Enron is
determined to get to the bottom of these issues and began work on that effort before Andersen’s
advice” (Enron responds, Dec. 12, 2001, para. 4).
For the most part the news coverage mimicked the releases. Enron was exploring
options to preserve its core business and to emerge as a viable company. The New York Times
painted Enron as a victim who had been left in the lurch by Dynegy. The newspaper quoted Jeff
McMahon as saying, “It’s fair to say that we thought we had a deal several times, and the goal
posts definitely kept moving on us” (Oppel & Sorkin, Nov. 29, 2001, para. 19).
The Dynegy lawsuit did serve to deflect discussion away from Enron’s accounting woes
and onto the failed merger. However, most of the coverage was sympathetic with Dynegy’s
position (Dynegy cancels, Nov. 29, 2001; Dynegy leaves Enron, Nov. 29, 2001). The Associated
Press reported that Dynegy claimed Enron’s lawsuit was an example of the company failing to
accept responsibility for its decline (Babineck, Dec. 3, 2001). And the New York Times reported
Dynegy’s comments that Enron was attempting to deflect attention from the facts (Oppel &
Sorkin, Dec. 3, 2001).


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