Wednesday, May 17, 2006

MEDIA MATTERS -- Snow in May

(My sincere apologies for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. Thanks for your patience--I will resume posting new entries on a regular basis from now on! -- MARK)

Tony Snow is the new White House Press Secretary and if his first week on the job is any indication, Tony might single-handedly salvage President Bush's second term.

He has shown a refreshing combination of humor, humility, and transparency in a political world that desperately needs all three. Yet, I read a blog by a highly respected media trainer who thought Tony made a huge mistake by admitting that his decision to bring the White House Press Corps into his office for his first presser turned out to be "just a mess."

Tony was obviously being candid (not to mention self-deprecating.) However, this media expert thought he made a "monumental press blunder," going on to say, "...the episode does show clearly that when you are spokesperson for an organization receiving tremendous scrutiny, any time you get off message, you run the risk of destroying an entire day's news coverage."

I couldn't disagree more. While conventional wisdom believes that any slip of the tongue or off-hand remark could spell disaster for high profile messengers, there is a growing need for honesty and sincerity with a media that has been numbed and even angered by all the double-talk and vagueness it's used to getting. (What's the point of staying "on message" if the message always gets garbled up by an angry mob of reporters?)

Tony Snow is a great example of how to handle the press with style and grace. Watch him and take notes!

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