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The 15-Seconds Blog

  • Of Guns and Gaffes

    15-Seconds Co-Founder Fred Francis appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday December 23rd.

    Among the topics:  media coverage of the Newtown, CT tragedy.

    Fred, host Howard Kurtz, and fellow panelists Steve Roberts and Lauren
    Ashburn also kicked around media coverage of gaffes and unscripted moments in the recent political campaign.

    Look for Fred on Reliable Sources again — this coming Sunday – December 30th.


  • NRA Shoots Self In Foot

    15-Seconds co-founder Bill Harlow was interviewed on Fox Business News HQ in New York yesterday morning giving PR advice on what the National Rifle Association should say in their forthcoming news conference.

    Bill told host Stuart Varney that the time was right for the NRA to talk about the tragedy in Newtown, CT but ONLY if they were willing to abandon their old talking points, avoid pointing fingers, and genuinely fulfill their promise of making a meaningful contribution to solving the problem of gun violence. The video is here:

    Not 30 minutes later, the NRA came out and did exactly the opposite of what we would recommend.  It didn’t go well. Two New York tabloids which often disagree were in unison on this one:

    Yesterday was a time for the NRA to get with the vast number of Americans who are sick and tired of the same old rhetoric.  LaPierre’s much ballyhooed “press conference” was so bad on so many levels.

    First, it wasn’t a press conference – it was the issuing of a statement – without taking questions.  Sure, we see POTUS do that all the time – he did it late Friday when speaking in the White House press room on the fiscal cliff.  But LaPierre has not earned the right or respect to just talk and walk.
    Second, he repeatedly attacked the very media he invited to his so-called presser.
    Third, for someone who was hawking a proposal to protect our kids in their schools – he didn’t even have the good sense to protect his own gathering: twice protestors got up with banners – giving every newspaper and TV station and web site in the world a GREAT VISUAL!  
    We teach our clients to vet those who you invite to your gatheings or you will lose control of the event.  The NRA lost control in spectacular fashion.
    We won’t address the substance of his his proposal, that’s for others to debate.  His speech was well-written but delivered with the skill of first year divinity student reading the scripture.  Has the guy never heard of a TelePrompter?
    Oh, one more thing, never promise something you can’t deliver – policy aside – he did that too in spectacular fashion.

    If ever we have witnessed a botched performance and a guy who needs media training – LaPierre is it.  He could be the poster boy of how NOT to meet the media – and address the nation.