When the big bad wolf invites you in for a meal — it is a safe bet that YOU are on the menu.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R, UT) was a guest on Lawrence O’Donnell’s program, “The Last Word,” on MSNBC last night. Alisia Essig, the Congressman’s press secretary tells us that her boss was invited on to discuss the budget. She says he was blindsided when O’Donnell suddenly began to attack him.
Conservatives invited on MSNBC shows — and liberals invited to appear on Fox News — should generally assume that they are present to feed the hosts’ appetites for fresh meat.
Shortly after the segment began, O’Donnell started ripping into Chaffetz for sleeping in his government office rather than renting a place to live while in DC. As the video below shows (h/t Daily Caller) O’Donnell began tearing the Congressman from limb to limb — calling him a “tax criminal” and demanding to know how much his home mortgage in Utah is and whether his wife brings in any outside income.
Chaffetz did a good job keeping his cool — at one point suggesting that O’Donnell got up on the wrong side of the bed that day — but the net result wasn’t pretty.
Our advice to clients — know what you are getting into. Don’t believe what producers tell you the subject of the interview will be if you are going on a show whose host is known to be against most of what you are for. Do some opposition research before you go in — and be armed with material you can use to defend yourself if you come under attack.
When interviews get real ugly — as this one did — we recommend you punch back (but always with a smile). Chaffetz could have interrupted O’Donnell’s interrupting and said things like:
“Larry, when MSNBC sends you to Washington they pick up the tab at 4-star hotels — and you don’t sleep on couches. I know it is hard for someone who wears $88 socks to understand fiscal conservatism — but my constituents appreciate frugality.”
“Larry, the lights are always on in the Capitol — so my spending some nights there doesn’t run up the electric bill. Focusing on trivia like you do instead of addressing real problems like the budget deficit is why people of your political persuasion are always in the dark.”
Don’t go to a knife (and fork) fight armed only with a napkin.