October 15, 2008

Someone Please Media Train the McCain Campaign

Posted in In the news, Media, Political Punditry tagged at 8:53 pm by R

I’m watching the debates right now and one thing keeps driving me nuts. It’s the same thing that’s been driving me crazy every time I see a McCain adviser, spokesperson or family member speaking to the media on his behalf.

Evidently no one media trained John McCain and crew.

Rolling of the eyes, general angry look, interrupting, flip remarks, etc. all fall under the category of unacceptable for me. I don’t care who you are what office you’re running for, what candidate you represent — it’s. not. ok.

Politics aside, this campaign just isn’t well behaved with the media. I have seen them behave in ways I would NEVER allow my clients to behave on air, not even on the tiniest local TV station.

The top three rules:

  1. Don’t interrupt — your mom told you not to and most PR pros will reiterate it.  It’s rude, it’s unprofessional, it makes you look bad. Just DON’T.
  2. Keep your emotions off your face — this takes some mastering (which is why we do media training). When you show your anger/upset you lose your power in the conversation. Practice, practice, practice not getting flustered by hair-raising questions. Note: this trick may help with blood pressure as well.
  3. Sweet speech — Never respond with too much emotion either. Again, you lose your power when you lose your cool. And you only get three-or-so minutes, so don’t waste any time. Chances are you’ve got a stronger message than anger/upset anyhow.

I watch TV, especially in election season, with a critical eye. I expect that politicians their spokespeople will be highly trained to handle media interviews. I’ve been disappointed by the McCain campaign’s showing in this regard.




  1. Jamie Holts said,

    I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll.

  2. arizonabrian said,

    I noticed the rolling of the eyes and general angry look and asked myself….isn’t someone supposed to tell him before he’s on camera how he should control his non verbals? We had an expert on a local affiliate talking about non verbals after VP debate – it’s really interesting how non verbals tell us so much.

    Good observations.

  3. Momma said,

    Is one to believe that in a diplomatic encounter Mr. McCain would use the same childish, nonverbal jabs? How impolite and frankly unprofessional. Yes, the McCain campaign needs a few sessions with Miss Manners because it is no little thing to show such pettiness in an intellectual discussion. A lack of respect for the opponent lies within a lack of respect for oneself.

    And to think you are paid to teach people manners.

  4. Joseph said,

    Hi Robyn,

    I enjoyed reading your latest post. I noticed the same thing! I feel like that they should be waving signs to McCain saying “You’re on camera!”

    Hopefully someone will relay the message him.

    Keep up the great work!


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