How the McDonalds Coffee Spill Story Grew Bigger and Smaller at the Same Time

One thing crisis PR professionals deal with constantly is the intense distortion that happens as a complex story blows up into a huge media phenomenon. More coverage doesn’t mean better coverage. Rather, it’s usually reductionist coverage. Like taking a movie and breaking it back down into a treatment.


This NYT mini-documentary does a wonderful job looking at how the legendary $2.9 million settlement over an elderly woman named Stella Liebeck suffering 3rd degree burns from overheated McDonalds coffee somehow became twisted into a cautionary tale about runaway juries.


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