Media Disaster Strikes Again, Where’s the Media Training When You Need It?

30 Jan Media Disaster Strikes Again, Where’s the Media Training When You Need It?

michael_grimm-resized-600.jpgIn my last blog post, I talked about Michael Bay’s onstage disaster.  I discussed the notion of celebrities lending their name and their personal brand, to well, other brands for endorsement reasons.  When Bay walked off Samsung’s stage, not only did he harm his brand, but Samsung’s as well.  Both brands went out on a limb for a promotional partnership and unfortunately, it went awry.

Not even a month later, I’m back with another celebrity of sorts who tarnished their brand.  But today’s snafu, if you will, is a little more serious than Bay’s mishap. I’m sure you’ve heard by now about New York Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) threatening to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off a balcony in the U.S. Capitol building.

“Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that do me again I’ll throw you off this f—— balcony,” Grimm says in the video. “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

Say what? Grimm supposedly didn’t realize the camera was still rolling.

As mentioned before, it doesn’t matter who you are – if you’re in the public eye, you have a brand to represent.  In this case, Grimm is representing his staff and his elected office.  He was asked about his campaign finances after the State of the Union address on Tuesday.  Grimm obviously did not want to talk about it nor was he prepared to answer this question, bringing us back to tip #2 and #3 from my last post – media training and preparation.  Regardless of if he and Scotto had an agreement before the on-air interview, he and his PR team should have prepared better on how to handle such a question.

It’s a journalist’s job to ask the tough, emotion-igniting questions, the interviewee’s job to know how to handle them on the fly, and the interviewee’s PR team’s job to give him the training to do so.  And most importantly, Grimm should know by now never to threaten and bully someone else for doing his or her job (especially when the camera is rolling).

In addition to the tips I offered before, here’s a little more sage advice (sarcasm, obviously) from PR News for those in the public eye (specifically elected officials) and their ‘media handlers’:

1. Hide the office firearms and Twinkies.

2. Find out if your senior leader is on prescription medication, and determine if he or she went off the prescribed dosage. That’s a good back-story.

3. When you’re helping your senior leader draft a statement of apology, do not meet his or her eyes for more than three seconds at a time. Animals in the wild consider staring to be a threat, and tend to act accordingly.

4. If your senior leader makes you laugh involuntarily, and then asks you, “Do I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m funny like a clown?” stay cool and show no fear.

5. Work on your resume.

Jessica Lindberg
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