Journalism in the Public Interest

Note to Staff: Send. Forward. Oops.

When Emeritus’s top public relations official fired off a passionate call to arms – an email beseeching the company’s employees to blunt the impact of PBS Frontline and ProPublica’s investigation of the assisted living business by posting positive things about the company and the industry on Frontline and ProPublica’s website and Facebook accounts – she surely didn’t mean for it to be sent to ProPublica.

But that’s what happened, notwithstanding the attempt by an Emeritus employee to take back what clearly was an inadvertent forwarding of the email.

Here it is:

Subject: Emeritus

From: Wilburn Gardens-ED

Date: July 31, 2013 10:23:41 AM EDT


OK, everyone, it’s our turn now.

The broadcast has aired. Frontline has told their story. Now it’s time to tell ours. And folks, let’s tell it LOUDLY.

I am asking you, right now, to take five minutes, go online to one of these websites (or cut and paste to all of them, for that matter), and write just one sentence that speaks to your incredible community, your amazing staff, your wonderful residents and families that you care for, the job that you love and the difference that you make.

There’s a great quote: “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

If you don’t think your one post will matter, it does. A LOT.

We have only to be proud of what we do. Now is OUR time to flood the internet with the sounds of OUR united voices. Shout out about the exceptional care your team delivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for your residents and their families who trust and believe in you.

Please. Do it now.



Frontline Facebook page

ProPublica Facebook page

Your work is love made visible. You are an example for us all.


Karen Lucas – VP, Product Development and Communications

Emeritus Senior Living | 3131 Elliott Avenue, Suite 500 | Seattle, WA 98121

Russell Williams – Executive Director

Emeritus of Wilburn Gardens | 3500 Meekins Drive | Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Our Family is Committed to Yours.®

"The essence of profound insight is simplicity…" -Jim Collins

“If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think…” -Clarence Darrow

It’s a shame that so many good people—people who could use solid reporting of their fields as a springboard for change—get trapped by some overseer who just wants a megaphone to shout over any inconvenient truths.

Look at the fast food unionization protests going on as another example.  Those people deserve a good union (you’ll find many people who’ve worked those jobs have had oil burns and a story they were told to get back to work, for example).  Instead though, their protests have been co-opted by the SEIU looking to expand its membership rather than to actually protect the workers.

Historically, China has had its Fifty-Cent Party and Israel has had the Megaphone Desktop Tool for similar purposes.

Notice that countering reporting with facts is never an option.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

Life and Death in Assisted Living

Is the loosely regulated, multi-billion dollar assisted living industry putting seniors at risk?

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories