After week filled with scandal, Gov. Bentley goes fishing — and crisis communications pro says it’s strategic

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Fishing is one way to eliminate stress, and many would say Governor Robert Bentley had one of the worst weeks of his political career last week. He admitted to making sexually-charged comments to a senior aide, and phone recordings of conversations with Rebekah Mason were posted online.

Gov. Bentley said the two did not have a physical relationship and apologized to his family and to the citizens of Alabama.

This weekend, he went fishing.

"Enjoyed fishing this afternoon with @zlee025! But I think he was using the wrong bait," Gov. Bentley tweeted.

Those pictures he tweeted, of his large bass and a friend's smaller bass, are raising eyebrows on social media.

Is Governor Bentley out of touch with the seriousness of the allegations against him?  WHNT News 19 spoke with David Driscoll, an experienced crisis communications professional.  Driscoll said a tweet like Bentley's is part of a broader strategy.

"In crisis management, you want to be able to show a person's profile who has been tarnished, and you want to be able to show this person is going about life as best he can," Driscoll said.

It goes along with the Governor's Twitter feed on Monday.

"I'm sure you'll see photos today of him at work and meeting with constituents, or at least, meeting with his staff, working on a project that he's been committed to," said Driscoll.

We sure did.

In the days after a crisis, Driscoll says everything is carefully planned, even if it doesn't seem like it.

"I doubt very seriously that it was not thought through. I think they thought it was the right thing to do," said Driscoll.

Because how you carry yourself counts, which includes your social media profile, communicates your expectations -- even in a scandal.

"Bill Clinton was able to recover," Driscoll pointed out.  "Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, was able to recover and actually got elected to Congress."

Perhaps that's why Governor Bentley's tweets seem so eager to project business as usual.

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