October 2012: The Five Worst Video Media Disasters

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on November 1, 2012 – 5:30 am

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.

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June 2012: The Five Worst Video Media Disasters

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on June 29, 2012 – 6:04 am

As we close out the first half of 2012, I’m happy to report that public figures didn’t let us down.

As usual, they committed a series of gaffes ranging from the bizarre…to the rude…to the downright cringeworthy.

So without any further ado, here’s this month’s collection, featuring a deceased spouse, some bad reporting, and an aggressive heckler.

And if you missed the ten worst media disasters of 2011, click here to catch up.

5. Hey, Martin Short: How’s Your Dead Wife Doing?

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.

Two things are noteworthy about this gaffe. First, Ms. Giffords’ question suggested a more intimate friendship with the Shorts than she clearly had. Second, note Mr. Short’s incredibly graceful reaction. His poise during an uncomfortable moment only made him look better. 

Note: Although this occurred at the end of May, it missed the deadline for last month’s list.

 

4. CNN and Fox News Blow Supreme Court Call

In their zeal to report the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, two of the biggest cable news channels blew the story. Both incorrectly reported that the individual mandate was dead.

Given the history of blown media calls—which include “Gabrielle Giffords dead,” “Gore wins Florida,” and “Dewey beats Truman,” you’d think the networks would know better than to rush information to air.

 

3. British Member of Parliament Gets Pummeled By Interviewer

This was a classic interview with an “out of the loop” spokesperson.

Chloe Smith is a young (30-year-old) conservative member of the British Parliament who serves as the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. When she appeared on Jeremy Paxman’s Newsnight to discuss the decision to delay a planned increase in fuel taxes, she failed to answer even the most direct questions.

Many of Ms. Smith’s colleagues in Parliament were furious that her boss who made the decision, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, sent her to do the show instead of doing it himself. Cover your eyes when you watch this one.

h/t @simonbriault

 

2. Blogger Heckles President Obama’s Immigration Speech

Neil Munro, a blogger for Tucker Carlson’s conservative website The Daily Caller, heckled President Obama during his immigration speech by shouting a confrontational question at him: “Why are you favoring immigrant workers over Americans?”  

Mr. Munro later claimed that he thought the President was finished with his statement and simply mistimed his question. But no other reporters were similarly confused, and some said afterwards that it was clear the President was in mid-speech.

Tucker Carlson (with whom I worked at CNN and personally like) also belongs on this list for offering a spirited defense of Munro’s uncivilized behavior.

 

1. President Obama Says The Private Sector Is “Doing Fine”

While speaking about the economy at a press conference earlier this month, President Obama said, “The private sector is doing fine.” By some measurements, that may be true. But by making such a declarative statement, he handed his opponents a perfect opportunity to label him as “out of touch.” Hours later, he walked his comment back.

His gaffe was reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s “I like being able to fire people” gaffe. Neither sentence will likely determine the outcome of November’s election. But expect to see Republicans use President Obama’s gaffe against him—and probably with some success— in hundreds of ads this fall.

 

Bonus Video 1: Candidate Covers His Bases…In an Unusual Way

One week before the Supreme Court issued its verdict on “Obamacare,” Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock pre-taped his response to the outcome.

Of course, he didn’t know what the outcome would be, so he pre-taped a response for four different options. That may not be terribly unusual – but the fact that all four videos made their way onto the web was.

Here’s Stephen Colbert’s rather hilarious take.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert News Alert – Obamacare Supreme Court Ruling – Richard Mourdock’s Responses
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

 

Bonus Video 2: Honeywell Security Rips Microphone Away From Reporter

Mike Elk, a reporter with the progressive In These Times, tried to ask Honeywell CEO Dave Cote a question during an event at the U.S. Capitol. During his question, a burly security person ripped the microphone out of Elk’s hands, which turned a mere adversarial question into a viral video sensation.

Later that day, Mr. Elk accused Honeywell’s “external communications director Rob Ferris of barricading him in a room for several minutes,” according to PR Daily.

Had Mr. Cote simply answered the question (heck, even if he had dodged it), this would have been a non-story.

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