November’s 5 Worst Video Media Disasters

Written by Brad Phillips on November 30, 2010 – 6:24 am

With the midterm elections over, I fretted it would be tough to find five good video media disasters this month.

Ye of little faith, you say. I know, I know. I’ll never doubt the ability of spokespersons to create wonderfully well-timed gaffes again.

Here they are, cultivated with love and a small dose of derision, November’s five worst video media disasters: 

#5: Kanye West, Delusional Self-Growth Advocate

Let’s say you want to make a television appearance to announce you’ve made mistakes but have grown as a person. My expert media training advice would be to avoid scolding the anchor, asking the crew to be quiet, and stopping the interview to declare it “ridiculous.”


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Click here to see my full analysis of this incident, “Kanye West Doesn’t Care About Media People.”


#4: Tony Hayward, Delusional Former BP CEO

BP’s Board probably wants to pump mud into former CEO Tony Hayward’s mouth – or at least cap it with a containment dome.

Hayward’s international self-pity tour continued this month with a declaration that, “We were not prepared to deal with the intensity of the media scrutiny.” After all, why would one of the world’s largest oil companies be expected to create a comprehensive crisis communications plan? It didn’t help that Hayward told The Guardian he would have performed better in the crisis if he had an acting degree instead of a geology degree. 




#3: Rob Ford, Toronto’s Delusional New Mayor

As a media trainer, I never thought I needed to tell public figures they shouldn’t yell at children while giving a nationally broadcast radio interview.

My bad. I’m on it. 

Click here to read my complete analysis of this incident, “Toronto’s New Mayor Needs Media Training.”


#2: Mark Talbert, Cornell University Professor and Leading Anti-Yawn Advocate

You’re giving a speech to 220 students when someone in your classroom yawns rather loudly.

Do you ignore it? Make a joke about it? Appeal for courtesy?

If you’re Mark Talbert, senior lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management, you try a fourth option: Disrupt the class, lose control, and search for the offending yawner.

Click here to see my full analysis of this incident, “Cornell Professor Screams at Serial Yawner.”

#1: Stephen Duckett, CEO, Alberta Health Services

You run the local health care system. Millions of residents are concerned about the lack of available beds in local hospitals. What should you say?

In one of the most sublimely surreal media clips I’ve ever seen, Dr. Duckett takes the old “baked goods” approach.

Click here to see my full analysis of this incident, “I’m Eating a Cookie: An Instant Media Classic”

Related: October’s 5 Worst Video Media Disasters

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  • About Mr. Media Training

    The Mr. Media Training Blog offers daily tips to help readers become better media spokespersons and public speakers. It also examines how well (or poorly) public figures are communicating through the media.

    Brad Phillips is the Founder and Managing Editor of the Mr. Media Training Blog. He is the president of Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training firm with offices in NYC and DC.

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    Before founding Phillips Media Relations in 2004, Brad worked as a journalist with ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel and CNN's Reliable Sources and The Capital Gang.

    Brad tweets at @MrMediaTraining.

    Christina Mozaffari is the Senior Writer for the Mr. Media Training Blog. She is the Washington, D.C. vice president for Phillips Media Relations.

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    Before joining Phillips Media Relations in 2011, Christina worked as a journalist with NBC News, where she produced stories for MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show.

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