The popular mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gets his head handed to him in this recent interview. Johnson usually tries to joke his way through interviews. He is a classic example of someone who is unprepared to answer tough questions.
Eddie Mair, interviewed Johnson on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, and cheekily challenged him about making up quotes when Johnson worked for The Times newspaper, lied to his party leader about having an affair and gave a friend the address of someone they wanted to ‘beat up’.
Johnson was also asked about his refusal to discuss whether he wants to be the prime minister, to which he replied “I don’t want to talk about this.”
Hardly a day goes by when we don’t see someone taking a bad situation and making it worse. But lately there has been a string of people taking “good news” stories and managing to make bad news out of them.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book called “Lean In” is getting a ton of publicity and stands at #1 on the NYT and Amazon.com best-seller lists. For authors, it doesn’t get any better than that.
It seems some former Facebook functionary, a woman named Kate Losse, wrote a less-than-glowing review in a publication we’ve never heard of — Dissent Magazine. Who cares? Apparently Brandee Barker, a former Facebook flack who is now helping publicize “Lean In.” Barker took offense and sent Losse what might have been meant to be a personal message via Twitter saying: “There is a private place in hell for you.” That message didn’t stay private for long. Losse let loose and shared the shot with the world.
Brandee Barker who used to run Facebook PR just sent me a message that says “there’s a special place in hell for you.” — kate losse (@fake_train) March 27, 2013
Now lots of people who had never heard of Losse, or Dissent Magazine — have been introduced to both.
Even dumber — is the example provided by some subset of the brothers Emanuel. Chicago Mayor Rahm, sports agent Ari, and doctor and bio ethicist Zeke Emanuel also have a book out and were recently interviewed by Brian Williams on NBC’s Rock Center. Most folks who watched it probably came away with a positive impression of the brothers.
But at least one of the trio, Ari, was unhappy with the way the interview went down when it was taped. Rather than letting it go, or having a private phone call with Williams, according to the NY Post, Ari sent a “fiery legal letter” to NBC and he confronted NBC CEO Steve Burke on the set of Saturday Night Live to complain about the interview which at the time had not aired. We don’t know if Ari told Burke that there is a special place in hell for Brian Williams — but we do know that he succeeded in making himself look like a jerk when the letter and the confrontation inevitably leaked. Ari’s thin skin caused lots of people to wonder why Team Emanuel would play like rookies.
There are times when you need to push back — but only when the offense is so grievous and the venue so prominent that you cannot stay quiet and you are willing to accept the fact that your response will result in more eyeballs finding the original negative story than would have in the first place.
Sandberg’s flack, and Ari Emanuel should have Leaned Back — and Shut Up.