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  • Al Gore’s Slippery Slope

    Al Gore is selling a new book.   Most of the questions he gets are about how he sold his old TV network.

    In case you missed it, Gore, who normally is in hot pursuit of anyone suspected of involvement in global warming, seemed to put aside his qualms in order to accept some cool cash.  Gore and his partners sold their obscure “Current TV” network for a reported $500 million to Al Jazeera, the Arab news network owned by the oil-rich country Qatar.

    Even Gore’s usual supporters found his willingness to sell out to new oil-stained owners as too slippery by half.  Politico put together a nice selection of tough questions the former VP has fielded in the past couple days when he wanted to be talking about “The Future,” his new book.

    So, how did he do in facing an onslaught of negative questions?  We’ve seen worse — but we have seen a lot better – especially from a former Vice President.

    It is clear that Gore anticipated the negative line of questioning.  He starts out correctly by trying to appear reasonable by saying things like “I get it” and “I understand the concern.”   But then he undercuts his understanding by laughing at the questions.  Laughter is not a defense.

    Gore sits too passively and lets his questioners drone on with their objections.  A better approach would be to cut them off and re-define the question.  E.G.  “I get it.  People are concerned about the appearance…but what they should know is that the country of Qatar is taking the lead in alternative fuel development….yada, yada…”

    It is also seems that he has over-prepared for negative questions.  When David Letterman starts to ask  Gore what country is the home of al Jazeera, Gore quickly answers “Qatar.”  Letterman starts to ask  “And that is a…..” and Gore injects “gas and oil.”  Huh?  Gore knew where Letterman was going..but did his dirty work for him.  He could have as easily said (instead of “gas and oil”) “Qatar is one of this country’s best allies in the Middle East and while much of its early wealth came from fossil fuels — just like the wealth of Texas — it has a thriving economy and has taken the lead in the region on renewable energy.”  Instead — Gore cut to the negative chase.

    We are not taking a position in 15-Secondsblog on whether or not it was hypocritical of Gore to sell out to the highest bidder – that is not the kind of blog this is.   But IF you are in a position like Gore’s and want to defend your actions (and sell your book) — there are better ways to go about it – like practice for the tough questions.


  • Pro Tip: Be Careful Who You Let Give Interviews About You

    Your friends and relatives mean well.  Most likely. But they aren’t always the best choices to give media interviews about you.  Case in point: Joe Flacco.

    The Baltimore Ravens quarterback is much in the news these days because of some football game he is scheduled to play in New Orleans on Sunday.

    The New York Times carried an article about Flacco this weekend the main theme of which appears to be that Joe is not a flashy guy.  His dad, Steve Flacco, apparently got carried away with the message.

     “Joe is dull.”

    “Joe is dull,” the senior Flacco is quoted as saying.  Just to make sure the reporter got the point, he elaborated. “As dull as he is portrayed in the media, he’s that dull.  He is dull.”

    Thanks, dad.

    We understand why an athlete might want to cultivate the image of “Joe Cool.” But “Joe Dull”?  Not so much.

    It is not just his Pop letting air out of Flacco’s balloon. The quarterback is set to be a free agent after the Super Bowl.  His agent, Joe Linta, is quoted saying: “I’ve never seen a guy less concerned about a contract.”  Not a good bargaining position, Joe (Linta.)  A better talking point might have been:  “I’ve never seen a guy more quietly confident in the future.”

    Note for sports stars:  the 15-Seconds team is available to provide media training for your relatives and agents — as well as you. 😉

  • Has Anybody Here Seen Kelley?

    Bad advice is easy to get.  On CNN’s Reliable Sources today Howard Kurtz was talking about his recent interview with Jill Kelley “the Other Other Woman” in the Petraeus sex scandal.  Months after having her life run over by paparazzi, Kelly finally spoke out in her own defense.

    She actually has things worth saying.  Like the fact that the email account through which she sent allegedly flirtatious email to a four star general — is shared with her husband…so the correspondence may not have been racy or inappropriate.  And she says despite press accounts that she and the general shared some thirty thousand pages of email — in fact it was only a couple hundred email over several years time.  Apparently the Pentagon (also slow on the uptake) agrees — finally clearing General John Allen of any wrongdoing just last week.

    The Reliable Sources segment is below:

    So why did it take more than two months for Kelley to come to her own defense?  Kurtz says she told him her “publicist” advised her to lay low and the story would blow over in a couple days. Kurtz guest Lola Ogunnaike correctly points out that this was terrible advice.   Some stories do blow over but–particularly in the modern environment — when you have a story that involves spy chiefs, generals, angry lovers and politics, the media’s thirst for more detail is going to outlive a participant’s determination to wait things out.

    There is nothing that Kelley said last week – that she couldn’t have — and shouldn’t have said within a day or two of the story first breaking.  When you fail to feed the media beast — there are plenty of other people who don’t know the facts and don’t care about you who are willing to do so.  Had Kelley spoken out a couple months ago — she would have been a lot further along in getting her life back now.