Fortune

You’ve got a public relations crisis.

You, or your company, has done something foolish or insensitive. And it’s gone viral on the Internet. There’s now a “storm” and a “backlash” in the Twitterverse and the blogosphere.

What should you do?

You should apologize, right? Admit your error, apologize to everyone, and then move on, yes?

Well, that’s what Public Relations 101 says. But is it really the best course of action any more?

Everyone will have to consider their own, unique circumstances. But some very high profile and controversial public relations flaps do at least cast some doubt on the conventional wisdom.

This week, Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for a Republican congressman from Tennessee, did exactly what she was supposed to do after making an apparent gaffe.

Lauten had criticized the President Obama’s daughters on Facebook last week, complaining that they had dressed inappropriately while appearing at the White…

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