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The 15-Seconds Blog

  • Peddling Questions

    If you ever hold a press conference, it is important to do your research on who is in attendence. With some good staff work, you can often predict what questions will be asked and what the agenda is of various reporters.

    But if you pick out questioners at random, there is no telling what kind of stuff they may try to sell you.

    Jay Leno illustrates the point.


  • Words Matter

    It is time, once again, to remind people being interviewed by the media that words matter. You never want negative words, which repeat allegations about you, to come out of your mouth. Textbook example: Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook.”

    Nixon demonstrated that there should never be heard a discouraging word from the lips of the accused — even when you deny the allegation.

    Today we have an amazing corollary. In Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there is a story about how long-time Congressman John Murtha is defending himself against allegations that he directs budget earmarks to firms in his district, which in turn hire lobbyists who make big contributions to his campaigns.

    And what does Murtha (who is under investigation by the FBI) tell the Post-Gazette?

    If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,” Mr. Murtha said. “My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary. Not the bureaucrats who are unelected over there in whatever White House, whether it’s Republican or Democrat.”

    Wow. Murtha has gone Nixon one better…no, make that one worse.

    He is essentially saying “I AM a crook. But it is in a good cause.”


  • Surprise! The Media Won’t Keep Your Secret

    There have been a flurry of stories over the past couple days reporting on allegations that a “friend” of Vice President Biden’s 27-year-old daughter, Ashley, is trying to peddle a video tape of the Veep’s offspring snorting cocaine.

    We’ll leave aside the significance of that blow to the Biden family pride for the moment, but want to focus on a sidebar story. According to various press accounts, a lawyer representing the “friend” approached several news media outlets and showed them snippets seeking bids on the full video.

    But today RadarOnline.com reports that the lawyer, Tom Dunlap, of the esteemed firm of Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, dropped the candid camera operator as a client. Dunlap reportedly told the website that he:

    “…did not want to be involved due to circumstances surrounding the publicity of the matter”

    News flash for Mr. Dunlap: if you are concerned about publicity, it is best to stay away from outfits like the New York Post and the National Enquirer. The prospect of the media blowing your cover, Mr. Dunlap, is nothing to sniff at.