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The 15-Seconds Blog

  • No Soup For You! Dr Snyderman


    One of the first rules for journalists is to make sure you don’t become the story. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman broke that in a big way.

    Snyderman and her team had been in Africa covering the Ebola crisis when a cameraman working with her came down with the disease. He is being treated in Nebraska and it was announced that Snyderman and the rest of her crew would be talking part in a self-imposed quarantine for 21 days. But over the weekend it was reported that Snyderman was spotted out and about near Princeton, New Jersey picking up some soup at the “Peasant Grill.”

    Monday Night NBC anchor Brian Williams read a lame non-apology apology from Snyderman in which she seemed to minimize the excursion. She even failed to admit her involvement saying only “members of our group violated those guidelines.” (See video below)

    As a result of their bone-headed move – the quarantine is now mandatory. Snyderman and NBC showed an appalling lack of news and medical judgment.

    Although Snyderman assures us that since she and her crew are not symptomatic – they cannot infect others — we’re betting business will be off for a while at the Peasant Grill.

  • Shielding Yourself from the Gaffe Virus


    There is an outbreak of a terrible virus here in America.   No not that one.  We mean “JBD” – “Joe Biden Disease.”

    The symptoms are when a prominent figure blurts out comments in public demonstrating that they have not given a moment’s thought to how their statement will sound to others.

    Among the latest to be infected was Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft who was speaking at an event celebrating women in computing and was asked his advice for women who are uncomfortable asking for a raise.

    It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” Mr. Nadella said.  “That might be one of the initial ‘super powers’ that, quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have,” he said. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”

    Not long after Nadella tweeted out a correction — if not an apology:

    Pay equality between the sexes is important — and it appears gaffe equality is too.

    Last night actress Gwyneth Paltrow  was speaking at a  Democratic National Committee fund raiser. Reportedly, while introducing President Obama she said that equal pay is very important to her “as a working mother.”  According to Forbes, she pulls in a mere $19 million annually. Nice work if you can get it.

    Our view is that an interview — or a speech — is no time for original thought.  Folks like Biden, Nadella, and Paltrow ought to prepare specific talking points — and then have someone not beholden to them (and preferably an average Joe – but not Joe Biden) review the the talking points to ensure there are no guffaw producing gaffes in them.

    Your own staff may be too close to you to be willing to tell you you sound like a jerk. Once the talking points are vetted, the prominent person needs to be convinced to stick to the script. Hard to do with folks enamored with their own brilliance — but a worthy effort to maintain the health of their image.