Archive for the ‘Media Training Disasters’ Category
If you follow my Twitter feed (I’m at @MrMediaTraining), you know that I often have critical words to say about CNN. Based on my tweets alone, you might reasonably conclude that I hate the network.
The truth is I don’t. I’m just bitterly disappointed in what the network has become. CNN’s decline has occurred at the exact moment that a solid news—not opinion—network is needed most.
There’s a critical need for a cable news channel that aims down the middle and gets it right. CNN should be the network that meets that need. Instead, it’s too often filled with silly and completely unnecessary graphics of holograms (really), silly and completely unnecessary over-coverage of “breaking” stories (such as the hours-long broadcast following the arrival of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship), and, worst of all, incorrect reporting.
CNN has had its credibility shattered in recent years. Its reputation took a bad hit in 1998, when the network claimed that U.S. troops committed war crimes during Operation Tailwind, a covert incursion that occurred during the Vietnam War. The network retracted the report.
In 2000, the network suffered another black eye by calling the presidential race incorrectly. More recently, CNN said that Gabrielle Giffords had died (she didn’t), that the Supreme Court overturned ObamaCare (it didn’t), and that Ryan Lanza was the Newtown shooter (he wasn’t – it was his brother, Adam).
But CNN’s misreporting this month about the Boston Marathon bombings may have been its lowest moment, compounding the network’s growing reputation for blowing the big story.
At the time of this report, no arrest had been made—Correspondent John King made these comments before the manhunt in Watertown, Massachusetts that led to the death of one suspect and the capture of the other.
King didn’t stop there. He also described the suspect as a “dark-skinned male,” which turned out to a questionable description—and was probably too vague to warrant mention at all.
John King later acknowledged his mistake and described his agony over getting it wrong. But CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker seemed not to care. He sent his staff a tone-deaf and congratulatory statement on their wonderful coverage of the bombing:
“For journalists like each of us, these are the times that define what we do and why we do it. All of you, across every division of CNN Worldwide, have done exceptional work. And when we made a mistake, we moved quickly to acknowledge it and correct it.”
Zucker is right that these are the times that define what they do. It’s just that his rose-colored definition is wrong. Despite the fact that many of CNN’s reporters and correspondents reported parts of the story well, their successes were rightfully drowned out by their mistakes.
It’s true that other news organizations got this story (and some of the others I mentioned in this piece) wrong. But I don’t expect more from many of those outlets. I do expect more from CNN. And for that reason, I’m naming CNN’s misreporting the worst video media disaster of the month.
What do you think? Was I too hard on CNN, or do they deserve being named the worst disaster of the month? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tags: cnn, Jeff Zucker, John King, media analysis
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First, a disclosure: I wrote this story in mid-March before going on a two-week paternity leave.
So it’s possible that another public figure committed an even more memorable video media disaster during my absence. Either way, this month’s disaster deserves special recognition as one of the most bizarre moments in international diplomacy—ever.
It all started when former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman was invited on a “basketball diplomacy” trip to North Korea. It turns out that he and North Korea’s totalitarian leader, Kim Jong Un, became fast friends.
The two of them palled around together for days, attending a sporting event, visiting an aquarium, and sharing drinks. The two of them became the biggest odd couple since Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Or Milton Berle and RuPaul. Or Monica and Chandler.
Here’s Rodman’s spectacularly bizarre appearance on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos following his return:
Ignore, if you can, Rodman’s “dollar bills” jacket, his multiple facial piercings, and his dark sunglasses. Focus instead on what he said about Kim Jong Un:
“I love him. The guy’s awesome…he was so honest.”
“I saw that people respect him and his family.”
“He’s a good guy to me. He’s my friend.”
All that praise, for a man who claims he wants to destroy the United States and is keeping an estimated 200,000 of his citizens in political prison camps. According to Amnesty International, those prisoners are “…forced to work in conditions approaching slavery and are frequently subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.”
When confronted with that information by a clearly annoyed George Stephanopoulos, Rodman compared Kim Jong Un’s shortcomings as a leader to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Normally, I’d dismiss Rodman’s antics as a circus sideshow. But when Rodman is granted more access to a North Korean leader than any other American diplomat in years, his actions matter. And, as Stephanopoulos pointed out, Rodman handed Mr. Un an easy propaganda victory.
So I can only wonder what’s next. Charlie Sheen befriending Khaled Sheikh Mohammed? Lindsey Lohan joining Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet? O.J. Simpson hosting a memorial dinner in honor of Pol Pot?
Mr. Rodman has always known how to grab the media’s attention. But dating Madonna and dyeing his hair is a whole lot different than dating a tyrant whose citizens die at his command.
Are you as disgusted by Rodman’s antics as I am, or do you think this is a sideshow without many consequences? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tags: Dennis Rodman, george stephanopoulos, Kim Jong Un, media training disaster, media training disasters, North Korea
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When Florida Senator Marco Rubio offered the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, his delivery was hampered by one of the worst cases of dry mouth ever televised.
The Senator’s entire performance was a bit of a mess. He removed sweat from his forehead numerous times, repeatedly licked and wiped his dehydrated lips, and even muffled a few words because his tongue was stuck in place.
But it was his awkward lunge for a miniature-sized bottle of water that turned his performance into a late night joke.
The fact that Sen. Rubio received this much mocking press for needing a drink of water is, well, unfair. But the media’s commentary about the “sip slip” was also predictable. When Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (like Rubio, also a potential 2016 presidential contender) gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union in 2009, he was compared unfavorably to 30 Rock’s “Kenneth the Page” character due to the odd optics that diminished his appearance.
The big problem is that those moments distracted from the messages both politicians were hoping to convey.
I’m not interested in piling on Sen. Rubio, but I am interested in offering a couple of tips to prevent a similar “dry mouth moment” if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
First, and most obviously, keep a bottle of water within easy reach. Hydrate yourself before your presentation, and avoid salty or hot foods that leave you parched before you speak.
But it’s this second point that’s the key. When something goes wrong during a presentation—and inevitably, it will—it’s critical that you avoid getting a look of panic.
Version One: How Rubio Handled It: He waited until he was desperate for a drink of water, awkwardly lunged to the side, and took a sip of water with the panicked expression of a man who had been caught doing something wrong.
Version Two: How Rubio Should Have Handled It: When Rubio realized he was getting parched earlier in his speech, he should have waited until a natural pause, calmly and deliberately reached for his water, taken a few sips, calmly put it back, turned back to the camera, and calmly resumed. It’s true that some commentators may have still remarked on the awkwardness of the moment—but the coverage wouldn’t have been as all-pervasive because the video clip wouldn’t have been as bad.
If you have a few minutes, it’s worth watching how the comedians portrayed the moment.
From Saturday Night Live:
From The Colbert Report:
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Tags: marco rubio, media training disaster, media training disasters, presentation disasters
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There’s only one reason Lance Armstrong spoke to Oprah Winfrey this month: To begin the process of rehabilitating his image. Doing so, he hoped, would help pave his way back into competitive sports.
After all, if his goal had been merely to confess to doping, he could have just released a written statement, as he had so many times before.
Therefore, the effectiveness of his Oprah tell-all has to be judged in that context, of whether or not it helped to rehabilitate his image. It didn’t. Worse, it did more damage than good, making his decision to appear with Oprah a disastrous one.
The Anderson Cooper clip below features video of one of Armstrong’s most shockingly awful moments.
A poll from my blog (admittedly unscientific) found that readers thought he did more harm than good in the interview:
A more scientific poll, conducted by Survey USA, mirrored this blog’s results, finding that only 17 percent of respondents thought he was being completely honest.
Among other reasons, Armstrong failed because:
1. He Didn’t Come Across As Contrite: In my original review, I noted that Armstrong seemed genuinely moved by the pain he had caused his family, but not terribly concerned with the pain he caused the many people he had bullied for many years. His attitude made many people, including me, wonder whether he is a sociopath.
2. He Still Looked Like a Bully: He laughed when asked about the wife of one former teammate, telling Oprah that although he had called her “crazy” and “a bitch,” he didn’t call her “fat.” In another stunning moment, he admitted that he couldn’t remember everyone he had sued because he had sued so many people.
3. He May Not Have Come Clean: Although Armstrong denied doping after 2005, there’s strong evidence that he’s still lying. He also denied offering hush money to the anti-doping agency USADA, although officials claim he did.
4. He Wasn’t Willing to Sacrifice Anything: As any parent knows, a bad act is usually followed by a commensurate punishment. Armstrong doesn’t seem to get that. He actually uttered this jaw-dropper to Oprah about whether he should be allowed to compete again: “I think I deserve it.”
Editor’s Note: After two-and-a-half years of featuring the five worst video disasters of every month, I’ve decided to make a change and focus on only the worst one of each month. That will allow me to analyze each month’s worst video disaster in greater detail.
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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, de:Benutzer:Hase
Tags: crisis communications, Lance Armstrong, media training disaster, Oprah Winfrey
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Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has been making violent (but well-received) movies for the past two decades.
His latest effort, Django Unchained, is the latest in a long line of bloody films. But unlike other Tarantino movies, Django was released less than two weeks after the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which spurred a new national conversation about the role of violence in our culture.
Given that context, it’s unsurprising that reporters would ask Tarantino about the extreme violence in his films. But it’s clear from Tarantino’s answers in this interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Britain’s Channel 4 News that he was tired of answering the question. (The exchange begins at 2:40.)
Among other memorable lines, Tarantino testily told the reporter:
“Don’t ask me a question like that—I’m not biting. I refuse your question.”
“I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not a monkey.”
“I’m shutting your butt down.”
“It’s none of your damn business.”
But the most stunning part of this exchange wasn’t Tarantino’s tone (although that was quite something), but his defiance when he declared:
“I’m here to sell my movie. This is a commercial for my movie, make no mistake.”
That Tarantino views his interviewers as complicit in his marketing efforts may say more about the sycophantic press that normally interviews him than it does about him. But he seemed completely unaware of the difference between an obsequious entertainment scribe and a hard news reporter. And his answer revealed a lot about how Hollywood celebrities view the role of the entertainment press.
Tarantino’s responses were counterproductive. Had he answered the questions, even in an uninspired manner, the interview wouldn’t have gone viral. Instead, as usually happens when the subject of a news interview goes on the attack, he brought even more attention onto the very subject he was trying to avoid—the violence in his films.
A grateful h/t to reader Bob LeDrew
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Tags: Django Unchained, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, media training disaster, media training disasters, Quentin Tarantino
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2012 was an election year, so it’s no surprise that politicians consistently committed the types of gaffes that took their campaigns far off message.
This year, we heard about the “47 percent,” “tacos,” and “chains.” But it wasn’t just politicians in trouble–an executive, a football coach, and three broadcast personalities also made the list.
Without further ado, here are the ten worst video media disasters of 2012!
Honorable Mention: Kathie Lee Gifford: How’s Your Dead Wife?
In May, Today Show host Kathie Lee Gifford committed an embarrassing gaffe when she asked comic Martin Short how his wife was doing. The problem? Mr. Short’s wife, Nancy, died two years ago. It’s not that she made a mistake. It’s that her question, asked in that typically “insider” show business way, suggested a much more intimate friendship with the Shorts than she clearly had.
10. Joe Biden: “Republicans Will Put You Back in Chains.”
When speaking in August, Vice President Joe Biden used an unfortunate choice of words that instantly triggered accusations of racism. He told the crowd, in which many African Americans were present:
“Romney wants to let the–he said in the first hundred days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put you all back in chains.”
Biden denied that his comments had any racial context, but all politicians should have learned to avoid such rhetorical traps from Ross Perot’s infamous 1992 “you people” remark.
9. One Mayor’s Pledge to Eat Tacos
When four police officers in East Haven, Connecticut were indicted on charges of beating Hispanic residents, a reporter asked the town’s mayor, Joseph Maturo, “What are you doing for the Latino community today?”
Mr. Maturo’s shocking response—“I might have tacos when I go home”—led to him being blasted by members of the community, the governor, and the media. The rest of the interview wasn’t much better. This may only rank ninth on the year-end list, but it’s my personal favorite of the year.
8. Democratic Consultant: Ann Romney “Never Worked”
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen caused a stir during a CNN interview in April when she said that Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life.” Many women were offended at Ms. Rosen’s assertion, especially given that Ms. Romney was a stay-at-home mother who raised five boys.
Rosen’s comment, which helped Republicans neutralize the “war on women,” quickly drew condemnation from within her own party. Within days, President & Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden, White House Spokesman Jay Carney, and Campaign Communications Director David Axelrod all condemned her remark.
7. Football Coach Offers Cash for Injuring Opponent
In a remarkably violent and vulgar audio tape released in April, former New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams was caught offering players money to injure members of the opposing team before a 2012 divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. About one player, he said:
“We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head…we want his head sideways.” About another player, he said, “we fuckin’ take out that outside ACL.”
Mr. Williams’ disgusting rant earned him an indefinite suspension from the NFL. May he never spend another moment on a professional, college, high school, or youth football field.
6. Clint Eastwood Hijacks Mitt Romney’s Big Night
On the final night of the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney accepted his party’s nomination to become the Republican presidential candidate. He proceeded to deliver a fine speech. Unfortunately, actor Clint Eastwood–who took the stage minutes before him–stole many of the headlines Romney had earned.
Eastwood took the stage accompanied by a bar stool. For 11 painful minutes, Eastwood addressed the bar stool as if it was President Obama. It was off message, bizarre, and embarrassing–and the news media spent precious minutes discussing Eastwood afterward instead of Romney.
5. Rush Limbaugh Calls Student a “Slut”
Bombastic right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh isn’t known for mincing words – but his vicious attack on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke was extreme even by his own loose standards.
Ms. Fluke testified before a Democratic House panel that Georgetown–a Jesuit university–should be required to provide contraceptive care as part of its health insurance plan. Mr. Limbaugh responded by asking if she was a “slut” or “prostitute” who is “having so much sex, it’s amazing she can still walk.”
He didn’t seem to understand that the cost of a woman’s contraceptive care doesn’t correlate directly to the amount of sex she’s having; nor did he factor in the many health reasons women use contraception. But his advertisers understood, and they fled his show in record numbers.
4. Susan G. Komen Founder Blows Crisis Response
Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker appeared on MSNBC after her organization cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, allegedly because Planned Parenthood provides abortion services. The resulting crisis was a disaster for Komen that threatened to destroy in a matter of days the favorable reputation it had built over decades.
Ms. Brinker bombed the interview, during which she claimed that “the responses we’re getting are favorable,” seemingly oblivious to the firestorm around her. She edgily blamed her critics for not “bothering” to read more about their decision and failed to express any reassurance to her supporters who felt betrayed by the decision.
The group’s fundraising took a major hit, with fewer women participating in Komen’s annual races. In Washington, DC, 40,000 women raced in 2011; only 26,000 did in 2012. Similar drops were reported in several other U.S. cities.
3. The First Debate and the Other Barack Obama Gaffes
From “The private sector is doing fine” to “If you have a business, you didn’t build that,” President Obama offered his opponents plenty of fodder for negative attack ads.
But it was Mr. Obama’s shockingly lackluster performance in the first presidential debate that may have been the biggest surprise, leading to an immediate decline in his poll numbers and a collective freak out by his Democratic supporters, who wondered how badly he really wanted a second term.
During the debate, Mr. Obama responded to Mitt Romney’s attacks without any discernible passion, instead making meandering points full of “uhhhs.” The video below is an edited compilation of some of Mr. Obama’s more than 200 “uhhhs.” It’s emblematic of how hesitant and unfocused he was throughout the debate.
2. The “47 Percent” and the Other Mitt Romney Gaffes
Whether saying “I like being able to fire people,” criticizing London about its Olympics preparation during a trip to the U.K., or boasting about his wife’s two Cadillacs, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney couldn’t get out of his own way all year. But it was his comment about the “47 percent” that may have sealed his fate:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it….My job is not to worry about those people.”
The video was a disaster for Mr. Romney’s campaign, taking them far off their desired messages just two months before Election Day.
1. Todd Akin’s “Legitimate Rape”
Missouri’s Republican Senate candidate, Todd Akin, caused an uproar when he used the phrase “legitimate rape” during an August television interview.
But it was what he said immediately afterward that was both scientifically false and terrifyingly ignorant. Speaking about the possibility of a woman getting pregnant after being raped, he said:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin’s comment served as a perfect example for Democrats pushing the theme of a Republican “war on women.” Republicans, aware of the damage Akin’s comment would have on the rest of the party, quickly begged him to quit the race. He refused. And Democratic incumbent Clare McCaskill beat him by a whopping 15 points in a race that favored the Republican challenger in many early polls.
Although Akin wasn’t alone in these types of comments–Indiana’s Richard Mourdock and Joe Walsh swam in similar waters–his was the most high-profile.
Don’t commit your own media disaster! Learn how to remain on message by reading my new book, The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know Before Your Next Interview. Click here to learn more.
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Tags: Clint Eastwood, Gregg Williams, Hilary Rosen, Joe Biden, Joseph Maturo, Kathie Lee Gifford, media training disaster, media training disasters, mitt romney, Nancy G. Brinker, president obama, Rush Limbaugh, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Tood Akin
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The presidential election is over.
The surest sign of that? Only one politician made this month’s media disasters list!
On this month’s list, you’ll find a disgruntled actor, two cable news hosts, and a new corporate leader who doesn’t seem to like television interviews.
Without any further ado, here are the five worst media disasters of November!
5. Half Man Finds God, Continues To Take “Filthy” Money
Angus T. Jones, the “half” man on CBS’s hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, recently made headlines when he called his show “filth” and begged viewers to stop watching the show. No matter that he’s been on the show since 2003 and became the highest paid child actor in 2010, reportedly earning a whopping $300,000 per episode.
I don’t question the sincerity of Mr. Jones’s beliefs, and he’s entitled to his views. Which is why his sudden about face looks so…strange. After the video above went viral, Jones backtracked, saying:
“I am grateful to, and have the highest regard and respect for, all of the wonderful people on ‘Two and a Half Men’ with whom I have worked and over the past 10 years who have become an extension of my family….I thank them for the opportunity they have given and continue to give me, and the help and guidance I have and expect to continue to receive from them”
As The Washington Post put it:
1) Show is filth.
2) No disrespect intended.
4. New BBC Head Walks Off Live Interview
The BBC is in the midst of one of its worst scandals ever.
Its handling of a sexual abuse scandal has already caused one BBC director-general to resign. And his replacement, acting director-general Tim Davie, didn’t make things any easier on himself when he decided to walk out of a live interview.
The most surprising thing? These questions should have been easy to anticipate—and therefore prepare for—prior to the interview.
3. Mitt Romney Goes 47 Percent—Again
Mitt Romney was caught on a secret video earlier this year saying that 47 percent of Americans would never vote for him because “I’ll never convince them they should take responsibility for their lives.” He promptly apologized for that, saying he cared about all Americans.
But after losing the election, he returned back to the same theme, telling a group of fundraisers that President Obama won because he had given lavish financial gifts to wide swaths of Americans. That comment prompted many of Romney’s fellow Republicans to tell him to exit the stage, stat.
No word yet on whether he thinks George W. Bush was trying to buy support for Republicans by giving seniors a prescription drug plan.
2. Fox News Host Says Food Stamps Are a Good Diet Plan
Andrea Tantaros, a co-host of The Five on the Fox News Channel, made headlines recently when she said that she would benefit by going on food stamps since it would help her diet.
Beyond being an insensitive thing to say, it’s also wrong. As anyone who’s examined America’s food system for two minutes already knows, it is much more expensive to eat healthfully (and to have access to healthier foods). And as nutritionists have been pointing out for years, it’s cheaper to buy a bag of chips than a head of broccoli.
Ms. Tantaros can make up for her comment by voluntarily going on food stamps for a month and eating nothing but what she can afford using them. I doubt she’d be so brazen at the end of the month.
1. Chris Matthews “Glad” That Hurricane Sandy Happened
Chris Matthews, the loudmouth host of MSNBC’s Hardball, got into trouble late on election night for committing a classic “seven-second stray.”
While speaking about President Obama’s victory, Matthews pointed out that Hurricane Sandy may have helped his re-election effort. But the manner in which he made that point was terribly insensitive.
It’s never a good idea to put politics over people. And in this video clip, Mr. Matthews seemed to suggest that the ends justified the means.
Bonus Video: Diane Sawyer’s Enthusiastic Performance
After her somewhat strange performance on election night, many viewers were left wondering what was going on with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. Regardless of the cause, her tone seemed off for reporting such an important news event.
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Tags: Andrea Tantaros, Angus T. Jones, Chris Matthews, Diane Sawyer, media training disasters, mitt romney, Tim Davie
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It’s little surprise that October was quite a month for media disasters.
Weird things happen in the final weeks of election season, and this month was no different. From the memorable presidential debates to a politician discussing rape to a California primary fight that almost turned violent, October was a month to remember.
Here, without further ado, are the five worst video media disasters of October 2012!
5. Al Gore Blames Altitude for Obama’s Bad Debate Performance
Democrats were left scratching their heads after President Obama’s dreadful first presidential debate in Denver. What caused his lackluster performance, they wondered? Was he tired after four years in office? Distracted due to the debate night occurring on his 20th wedding anniversary? Did he just have an overall disrespect for the value of debates themselves?
Whatever the reason, no one had a more outlandish excuse for him than former Vice President Al Gore, who suggested that Denver’s altitude was to blame. My favorite part of this clip? That his sycophantic co-hosts gave his idea some credence.
4. Two Democratic Opponents Almost Come to Blows
A California House race nearly became violent as two Democrats locked in a primary battle—Brad Sherman and Howard Berman—almost came to blows. It got so heated, their exchange had to be broken up by a nearby police officer.
The Jewish Journal reported that, “The inciting incident came after Berman, for the second time in the debate, took credit for authoring the DREAM Act.”
3. Mitt Romney’s Libya Moment and His “Binders Full of Women”
Mitt Romney had two buzz-worthy moments during the presidential debates.
The first came in the second debate, when—with menacingly arched eyebrows—he denied that President Obama had called the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi an “act of terror” the day after the attack (in fact, he did use the term “act of terror” in a statement on Libya the next day).
Although Mr. Romney may have been right on his larger point, he was wrong on the specific point, allowing the President (with the help of moderator Candy Crowley) to win the exchange.
Mr. Romney’s second memorable moment occurred during the same debate, when he explained his commitment to gender equality by sharing an anecdote about looking through “binders full of women” as Massachusetts governor to consider them for job openings.
Sure, that phrase was inelegant. But the more important question many women were asking afterward was why, after so many years in business, Mr. Romney knew so few qualified women to consider for those positions in the first place.
2. Senate Candidate Steps on Rape Landmine
During a debate earlier this month, Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock worded his position on abortion in the case of rape as follows:
“Life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
Critics pounced, accusing Mourdock of saying he believes that God intends rape to happen. Mourdock bitterly complained that his words had been taken out of context; he and his supporters explained that he didn’t mean that God intends for rape to occur, but rather that the life itself is a gift from God.
Based on my reading of his comments, I’m willing to give Mourdock the benefit of the doubt. But his imprecise word choice left him open to attack. And it’s not like he didn’t have ample warning to prepare a less ambiguous statement on this topic—any Republican running on a similar platform this election cycle should have improved upon Todd Akin’s awful example.
1. President Obama’s First Debate
First, let’s get this out of the way: this was not a “gaffe” in the traditional definition of a gaffe. But in terms of sheer political impact, President Obama’s performance during the first presidential debate is impossible to ignore. As a result of his lackluster performance, Governor Romney immediately surged in the national polls and closed the gap in several vital swing states.
If President Obama loses next Tuesday, historians will cite this debate as a major reason why. If he wins, it will be a lot closer than it otherwise could have been.
The video below is an edited compilation of some of Mr. Obama’s many “uhhhs.” It’s emblematic of how hesitant and unfocused he was throughout the entire debate.
Bonus #1: Mitt Romney Surrogate John Sununu’s Racist Statement
If you’re white, you’re almost certainly voting for Mitt Romney because he’s white, too. Right?
That was the logic behind a statement made by former New Hampshire Governor (and current Mitt Romney surrogate) John Sununu. After General Colin Powell—who served as George W. Bush’s Secretary of State—announced his support for President Obama, Sununu shamefully reduced Mr. Powell to merely being a black man who casts his vote on racial identity alone instead of being a person whose votes are based on actual thought.
Bonus #2: Joe Walsh: Women Don’t Die Due to Pregnancy Anymore
Did you know that women don’t die during childbirth anymore?
That, according to Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL), who says “life of the mother” exceptions to abortion laws are no longer necessary since medical technology makes such cases non-existent.
If only someone could share that news with American’s uncooperative women, who occasionally lose their lives due to complications of pregnancy.
Tags: al gore, Brad Sherman, Howard Berman, Joe Walsh, John Sununu, media training disaster, media training disasters, mitt romney, president obama, Richard Mourdock
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