Friday, June 09, 2006

MEDIA MATTERS--Getting The "Coulter" Shoulder?

Maybe she knows what she's doing...but I can't help but think that conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter needs a little help with her media people skills.

Ms. Coulter got into a shouting match with NBC "Today Show" host Matt Lauer over her comments regarding a group of 9/11 widows who she claims have used a national tragedy for their personal gain. Political perspective aside, she made a couple of critical mistakes that will probably erode her credibility. (Notice I didn't say her popularity. In the world of political opinion, you want people to either love you or hate you...and the people who hate you will give you more attention than the people who love you. Which means bigger ratings and book sales.)

Rule #13 of Media Interview Techniques--don't get into a shouting match with the host. Having passion is great. Having lung power is not. The host controls the show and when you both get so worked up that tempers flare, guess who wins? And guess who invariably gets blasted after the interview's over? Not the interviewer. You only win when you are the cool and collected one.

Ann Coulter could've saved the interview by using a little charm or some self-deprecating humor, but she ended the segment by breaking Rule #7--never insult the host. After Matt Lauer closed the segment by saying, "Ann Coulter...always fun to have you here" she got one last shot in by saying, "Hey, Matt, where's Katie (Couric)? Did she leave or something?!?"

Childish. And self-serving. Ann Coulter's actions may sell books, but it doesn't help her credibility let alone give conservatives a fair shake in the public discourse. Lesson here--if you're in a confrontational interview with a member of the media, always take the high ground.

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