" The Oregonian

Sheen, Wu and Reputation Management

Trying to bluff your way through a crisis is like tiptoeing on a window ledge to get to the hotel lobby. You are more likely to crash than control the damage.The recent media surges by Charlie Sheen and Oregon First District Congressman David Wu serve as a painful reminder that preserving your reputation requires more than just talking. It demands discipline and a realistic strategy.

Sheen has shown up from dawn to late night on talk shows. Whatever his intention in his media availabilities, Sheen has come across as someone deep in denial. He may have set a record in racking up Twitter followers, but after a week of gab he now appears estranged from two ex-wives and his four children. No matter how much you might enjoy the TV sitcom "Two and Half Men," the most prevalent public reaction to Sheen is pity, not respect.

He needs help, and not just medical attention.

The same can be said for Wu who has emerged on the national stage as a caricature in a tiger suit. Based on Wu's statements to the media and Democratic supporters, he suffers from some form of mental health illness, has sought professional help and has his issue under control. Yet, Wu is under a continuing barrage to be more forthcoming and specifically explain why his senior congressional and campaign staff members departed shortly after the 2010 election last November.