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Media Mastery Lessons from The Best of Enemies

BY IN BLOG On 29-07-2015

By George Merlis Conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., founder/editor of the National Review,  and liberal iconoclast Gore Vidal, author, essayist, playwright and activist, had a long-running bitter, feud. “The Best of Enemies” an excellent documentary from Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville compellingly tells the story of that feud. The film opens in New York [...] [...]

2 years ago / No Comments

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JUL

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Two Grabbers for Every Agenda Point

BY IN BLOG On 11-02-2015

By George Merlis A number of clients have asked me if I would write a blog on the Brian Williams Choppergate scandal. Well, I have. It was for another outlet, Zocalo Public Square and it was posted before his six month unpaid suspension was announced.  If you’re interested, there’s a second link to that column [...] [...]

3 years ago / No Comments

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The Worst Case Scenario

BY IN BLOG On 09-10-2014

By George Merlis What is the worst case scenario in a media interview? Well, it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the worst case scenario being asked to speculate on… the worst case scenario. Here’s a teachable moment about that; it’s based on a recent interview about the Ebola epidemic. As I’ve stipulated in [...] [...]

3 years ago / No Comments

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OCT

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Mastering a Skype Media Interview

BY IN BLOG On 01-05-2014

Skype interviews have become so pervasive I’ve added a component on them to my media training workshops. Skype gives TV outlets a quick, cost-efficient way to add interviews to a story.  Print outlets use Skype video interviews in the website versions of stories and online media use Skype interviews extensively and have for a long time. [...] [...]

3 years ago / No Comments

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MAY

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Eschewing Obfuscation & Obscurantism (With Help from Einstein)

BY IN BLOG On 07-03-2014

You might call this the dictionary.com blog post.  Let’s start with “Eschew Obfuscation” a once-popular ironic saying.  dictionary.com offers this definition for obfuscate: Which brings me to David Brooks of the New York Times, the philosopher-king of newspaper columnists who confused and bewildered (but did not stupefy) me recently. Increasingly over the years, Brooks has [...] [...]

4 years ago / No Comments

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MAR

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Friends in the Media? Ask Bode Miller About That.

BY IN BLOG On 23-02-2014

The Winter Olympics have ended, so this is a good time to put into perspective the controversy about NBC Sports’ Bode Miller interview. Plenty has been written that emotional exchange, but here’s a refresher:  Miller, 36,  tied for the bronze medal in the men’s Super-G, making him the oldest Olympic skiing medalist ever. But the [...] [...]

4 years ago / 1 Comment

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FEB

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Good Communications Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

BY IN BLOG On 11-02-2014

The tag line for the sappy 1970 movie, Love Story, was “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Good executive communications means never having to say you’re sorry, too.  Perhaps a lot of MBA candidates cut class the day that lesson was taught at business school.  The latest high visibility apologizer is Tim Armstrong, [...] [...]

4 years ago / 1 Comment

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Handling False Equivalencies in an Interview

BY IN BLOG On 15-12-2013

Recently, a client presented a case of false equivalencies in a media situation and asked me how to deal with such an ambush.  In a false equivalency, a media outlet, usually overeager to find two sides to a story, accords equal credence and weight to a specious or discredited idea to balance it off against [...] [...]

4 years ago / No Comments

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DEC

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How NOT To Handle a Crisis

BY IN BLOG On 12-11-2013

I have a lot of rules for handling rough questions in a crisis situation; here are two of the most important: 1. Don’t repeat the negative words in a question. 2. Don’t evade.  Unless you live in a cave without Internet access, you know, healthcare.gov, the federal sign-up site for the uninsured, debuted October 1 [...] [...]

4 years ago / No Comments

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NOV

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The Berlin Wall, Best Prop Ever

BY IN BLOG On 20-06-2013

[This blog was originally posted on June 20, 2013] This post has only one point applicable to media training, but I think it may be instructive in other ways.  It was inspired by President Obama’s address at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on June 19 [2013].  That speech had particular significance for me because it [...] [...]

4 years ago / No Comments

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