October 11, 2012; Source: Agence France-Presse
This week, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released its files related to its doping charges against Lance Armstrong. The NPQ Newswire has been following the impact of the doping charges against Armstrong on his foundation (see here and here). So far, that impact hasn’t been large and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, also known as LIVESTRONG, has been able to sidestep the issue, focusing instead on its valuable cancer work rather than the controversy surrounding its titular leader. Now, however, some are suggesting that may become harder to do.
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As Agence France-Presse (AFP) puts it, “[G]iven that a Google news search using the terms ‘Lance Armstrong’ and ‘doping’ was generating 51,400 hits at 1500 GMT on Thursday, the appetite for the story may soon envelop the charity, and require a more aggressive response.” AFP also cites Chris Edwards, the owner of Reputation Saviors, a company that focuses on battling bad press on the Internet, who reportedly feels, in AFP’s words, that “if attention moves to the charity’s own actions, they will have no option but to reply.” At least for now, though, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, isn’t doing so.
No one that we’re aware of is suggesting that Armstrong’s alleged doping reflects in any way upon the work of LIVESTRONG. Rather, Edwards argues that “when the entire news media starts to report something it is [a] very difficult situation to combat” and that “if that happens to LIVESTRONG they will have to do something. You can’t just not answer back.” If that’s so, then the foundation’s problem isn’t just about Lance Armstrong. It’s also about a scandal-hungry media culture. Neither concern is something that the foundation can do anything about, really. But let’s not pretend that when such scandals hit, they are solely the doing of one celebrity actor; media outlets are an active participants in this ugly game. Let’s hope that all the good work of LIVESTRONG doesn’t become the collateral damage of a 24/7 infotainment cycle. –Mike Keefe-Feldman