Back in the good old days

This isn't really in reference to anything specific, but as a side-effect of following this "Rathergate" thing (on [instapundit](, among others) I came across [this comparison]( to Johnson & Johnson's handling of a poisoned Tylenol scare.

Now, read that article, and then tell me: Can you imagine _any_ company doing that now?

Me neither.

What's interesting isn't the fact that it'd never happen again, what's interesting is why. I wonder which of these it is:

One, people sue too easily. The fastest way to a fat judgement is to admit culpability, and recalling all of the tainted goods (or their various equivalents) is tantamount to a guilty plea in this age of massive lawsuits. Most companies can't afford that, nor should they have to.

Two, the corporate culture is, for that reason and more, becoming more and more secretive. It's been shown conclusively over the years that hiding things works. Sure, a few really visible folks get the shaft, but that's the point -- don't live too high on the hog and you can spend _years_ screwing your customers, employees, and shareholders out of millions of dollars.

Three, people are just assholes, but by some miracle J&J was run by decent people once upon a time, at least for a week or two.

Four, and this is a big one, media reaction to something like the Tylenol incident now would be such that hysteria would sweep the nation. Combining the penchant that television news has for blowing incidents like this out of proportion with the staggering inability of, oh, 90% of the population to perform critical analysis, let alone fact-checking, and you have the ingredients of a company's downfall wrapped up in a nice little bow.

Comments !