Category: Media Training Tips

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Here’s How Chris Matthews Forced A Donald Trump Abortion Error

Donald Trump earned condemnation from liberals and conservatives alike on Wednesday for stating that women who get abortions should receive “some form of punishment.”

Trump’s campaign quickly realized he had committed a major error and went into overdrive to correct it. During one cleanup interview, his spokesperson admitted, “This was a complete misspeak.”

Interviewer Chris Matthews used a specific technique to knock Trump off script — and our trainees fall victim to it often.

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What It Feels Like To Freeze On National Television

Earlier this month, an Australian lecturer named Benjamin Habib of Melbourne’s Latrobe University appeared on live television to discuss North Korea’s recent rocket launch.

When the camera’s light came on, Habib froze—and despite the best effort of the anchors, he couldn’t get back on track.

What makes this interview interesting is what happened afterward. Dr. Habib wrote an essay for his blog, in which he described the humiliating experience and his battle with mental illness which, he says, contributed to his on-air performance.

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Official Calls Reporter A “Bitch,” Resigns, Then Does It Again

Ron Buchanan, Nashville’s top election official, resigned on Monday after calling a reporter from WSMV-TV a “bitch”—while tape was rolling.

Buchanan was answering questions about his expenses, which included meals at upscale local restaurants and pricey office furnishings. He was doing a fine enough job of defending his expenses—but something got under his skin when the reporter asked him this question: “Could you have gone to another restaurant that was perhaps not as expensive?”

It’s not just that he called her that term. It’s that he did it again in his bitter resignation letter.

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I’m Not Naming A Worst Video Media Disaster Of 2015. Here’s Why.

Since beginning this blog in 2010, I’ve named the worst video media disaster at the end of every year.

In 2010, the award went to British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward. In 2011, Anthony Weiner nabbed the prize. In 2012, Senate candidate Todd Akin became notorious for his claim about rape. In 2013, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford earned it for making a vulgar comment. In 2014, LA Clippers Owner Donald Sterling received the prize for making racist comments.

But for the first time since starting the blog, I’ve decided against naming a worst video media disaster this year. Here’s why.

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Save Your Indignation, Rahm. This One’s On You.

(December 2, 2015) Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was interviewed at a live event this morning by Politico reporter Mike Allen.

Mr. Emanuel—who is facing one the biggest crises of his political career over his handling of a high-profile police misconduct case—lashed out at Allen for asking a question he didn’t like.

But the question wasn’t exactly a hard-hitting one. It was about his winter vacation plans. Watch the angry exchange that followed.

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Hillary Clinton Email Press Conference August 2015

August 2015: The Worst Video Media Disaster

For months, Hillary Clinton has been dealing with a crisis regarding her use of a personal server and email account to send and receive work-related emails while Secretary of State.

Whether you believe this crisis is justified by the facts or the result of an unfair partisan attack, she should have been able to answer a direct question during a recent press conference (“Did you wipe the server?”) directly. Instead, she offered a glib sarcasm, feigned ignorance, and shrugged her shoulders.

It was a performance that led to negative press, reduced her poll numbers, and emboldened her opponents.

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Who’s To Blame For This Awkward Interview?

Last week, model and actress Cara Delevingne appeared on “Good Morning Sacramento” to plug her new film, Paper Towns. The interview didn’t go well. The anchors asked lazy and condescending questions, including this gem about the movie’s source material:

Host #1: “Did you have a chance to read [the book]?”

Delevingne (sarcastically): “No, I never read the book or the script, actually, I kind of winged it.”

Things only got worse from there.

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A Thought Exercise: How Would You Answer This Question?

While preparing for a recent media training, I came across a video clip from 2009 that I had never seen before.

The clip features Bob Diamond, who was the CEO of the British multinational bank Barclays at the time. During the interview, the reporter asked Diamond to defend his high compensation package—he was reportedly earning north

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