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  • Trapper John Tells Fellow Fox Guest to Shut Her Trap

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    Wayne Rogers, best known for his role of “Trapper John” on the TV show M*A*S*H  was one of four guests on a Fox News segment yesterday called “Cashin’ In.” It did not go well.

    Rogers grew frustrated by frequent interruptions from journalist Michelle Fields and ended up throwing some papers at the camera, telling Fields to shut up and calling her a moron.

    There are a couple lessons to be learned from this high point in public discourse.

    1. If you are invited to be interviewed on a news program — as one of four guests — expect to be interrupted. This is especially true if you are all in separate locations — and you are “in a box” as was the case in the Fox interview. (In addition to the normal tendency of others to hog air time — being in different locations means that others only hear you — but don’t see the normal body language cues when someone else wants to talk — so they just barge in.)

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    2. Even when you are not talking — your image may be out there — so rude and dismissive body language will be seen by the audience and

    3. Just because you were once a TV star doesn’t mean everyone is hanging on your every word. (We note that Michele Fields was born 12 years after Rogers’ signed off M*A*S*H so view him as the icon he probably sees himself as.)

    Check out the video below…the fireworks start at about the 4:55 minute mark.

  • Train of Thought Train Wreck

    Another political candidate has demonstrated the importance of preparation for TV appearances — and the price you pay for lack thereof.

    Amanda Curtis may have something of an excuse. She had not planned on running for the Senate from Montana. But when the incumbent, Sen. John Walsh (D), got caught up in a plagiarism scandal, Curtis was thrown into the breach about ten days ago.

    But you’d think she’d be able to vamp about what she’ll be doing until election day. Apparently not. As Rick Perry would say: “oops.” Watch the uncomfortable pause in the middle of this softball interview:

    The gap gaffe is reminiscent of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s lapse in the middle of a reelection debate four years ago

    and Governor Rick Perry’s brain freeze during Presidential debates three years ago.

    h/t Mediaite

  • If “Meet the Press” Host Calls — Get His Name

    Press speculation about possible leadership shakeups are tough for any organization to handle. Few industries handle such issues worse than the media themselves.

    The latest illustration comes from NBC News.  This morning Politico blared this headline:

    EXCLUSIVE: “MEET THE PRESS” plans to announce new moderator soon: CHUCK TODD is the favorite

    Not exactly stunning news — since there has been much speculation in recent weeks  about current host David Gregory being in jeopardy as a result of  the venerable Sunday’s show’s fall from its traditional place as #1 in the ratings — to a lowly #3.

    Politico covered itself by adding:  “The sources caution that nothing is definite or decided.”

    The media love “who’s up – who’s down?” stories — so many other outlets tried to follow Politico’s scooplet.

    A few hours later the New York Daily News responded with this:

    NBC sources dismiss Politico report that Todd will take over from Gregory to beef up Sunday political show’s ‘passion and insider cred’ as speculation.

    The tabloid reported that “An NBC representative said the network has no official comment.  At the same time, sources at the network dismissed the Politico report as a spinoff from speculation among reporters who are covering President Obama’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.”  (italics ours)

    It seems to us that “no official comment” equals confirmation.  You cannot decline to comment on a story like this and then try to dismiss it on background.  If it isn’t true — why not deny it on the record?

    It is pretty clear that, at a minimum, a change is being seriously contemplated.  NBC probably doesn’t want their spokespeople or senior execs to be on the record denying something that may soon turn out to be true.

    But there are better ways to handle this kind of a story.  They could have either declined to comment on the record and on background or have said something on-the-record like:  “We remain enormous fans of David Gregory.  All of us at NBC News are working hard to restore Meet the Press to its traditional places as #1.  We have no plans to make major changes at this time, however.”

    Just yesterday Chris Wallace appeared on Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz criticized the way NBC has handled the Gregory situation. “This twisting in the wind is unseemly,” he said.  “The outta say either ‘He’s our guy and we’re sticking with im’ or they should get rid of him.”  See the video below at the 4:45 mark.