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Avow or Avoid?: The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCom
Unformatted Document Text:  Avow or Avoid? 19 occurred…” (WorldCom Delivers Requested, July 1, 2002). The company also pledged to be “absolutely committed to operating in accordance with the highest ethical standards” (WorldCom Delivers Requested, July 1, 2002). Twenty days later WorldCom filed for bankruptcy protection in order for the company to “conduct business as usual while it develops a reorganization plan…” (WorldCom Files For, July 21, 2002, para. 1). While the blame-placing subsided, the company continued to argue that its survival was in the best interest of all parties. “Chapter 11 enables us to create the greatest possible value for our creditors, preserve jobs for our employees, continue to deliver top-quality service to our customers and maintain our role in America’s national security,” Sidgmore said (WorldCom Files For, July 21, 2002, para. 5). News coverage of WorldCom immediately before and after the company filed for bankruptcy protection included the company’s promise of openness but countered such claims with attacks by regulators that the organization was being something less than open. The Washington Post quoted SEC Chairman Harvey L. Pitt as saying WorldCom’s report to the SEC was “wholly inadequate and incomplete” (Stern, July 2, 2002, para. 2). He was further quoted, “It demonstrates a lack of commitment to full disclosure to investors and less than full cooperation with the SEC” (Stern, July 2, 2002, para. 5). The Boston Globe quoted Sidgmore saying, “Today’s filing is consistent with our pledge to be forthright and open, and to cooperate fully with both internal and external investigations” (Howe, July 2, 2002, para. 7). Sidgmore’s talk of openness was immediately countered in the Boston Globe article by Pitt’s comments about WorldCom’s lack of commitment to full disclosure – the same quote attributed to Pitt in the Washington Post. The New York Times covered Sidgmore’s argument that WorldCom’s survival was essential to national security and telecom competition. The New York Times noted that WorldCom carried “about a third of the world’s Internet traffic on its network” (Romero, July 3,

Authors: Reber, Bryan. and Gower, Karla.
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Avow or Avoid?
19
occurred…” (WorldCom Delivers Requested, July 1, 2002). The company also pledged to be
“absolutely committed to operating in accordance with the highest ethical standards” (WorldCom
Delivers Requested, July 1, 2002).
Twenty days later WorldCom filed for bankruptcy protection in order for the company to
“conduct business as usual while it develops a reorganization plan…” (WorldCom Files For, July
21, 2002, para. 1). While the blame-placing subsided, the company continued to argue that its
survival was in the best interest of all parties. “Chapter 11 enables us to create the greatest
possible value for our creditors, preserve jobs for our employees, continue to deliver top-quality
service to our customers and maintain our role in America’s national security,” Sidgmore said
(WorldCom Files For, July 21, 2002, para. 5).
News coverage of WorldCom immediately before and after the company filed for
bankruptcy protection included the company’s promise of openness but countered such claims
with attacks by regulators that the organization was being something less than open.
The Washington Post quoted SEC Chairman Harvey L. Pitt as saying WorldCom’s report
to the SEC was “wholly inadequate and incomplete” (Stern, July 2, 2002, para. 2). He was
further quoted, “It demonstrates a lack of commitment to full disclosure to investors and less than
full cooperation with the SEC” (Stern, July 2, 2002, para. 5). The Boston Globe quoted
Sidgmore saying, “Today’s filing is consistent with our pledge to be forthright and open, and to
cooperate fully with both internal and external investigations” (Howe, July 2, 2002, para. 7).
Sidgmore’s talk of openness was immediately countered in the Boston Globe article by Pitt’s
comments about WorldCom’s lack of commitment to full disclosure – the same quote attributed
to Pitt in the Washington Post.
The New York Times covered Sidgmore’s argument that WorldCom’s survival was
essential to national security and telecom competition. The New York Times noted that
WorldCom carried “about a third of the world’s Internet traffic on its network” (Romero, July 3,


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