On the wall above our computer is an old framed black and white Frank & Ernest cartoon with four characters in the wigs and knee-britches of the colonial period. One of the gentlemen, who does not look like George Washington is saying: “’Cannot tell a lie,’ eh? … In that case, you’ll need a press secretary.”
The cartoon was a gift from an old friend from years ago who was also in the media relations game. He had also partaken in some of those awkward moments in providing media briefings, that we have all had to handle. It is in thinking of Sean Spicer, Press Secretary for President Donald Trump that the cartoon has added meaning.
Spicer has an absolutely impossible task and he handles it so badly. He not only holds his client up for ridicule but he comes across as a complete fool.
The basic problem with his briefings is that everybody there knows that the President is a congenital liar. The media end up with two levels of lies and have no idea what to believe anymore.
And it hardly helps that the media being briefed come into the room knowing that Spicer will lie to them. It all comes down to how big a load is left in his diaper after each session? You are almost thankful that this lame-brain is no political spin doctor.
But remember, he is Donald Trump’s man. Whether you are spokesperson for the Pope or a serial killer, that person has selected you to spread the word. And you speak for them.
There were times when representing the Liberal Party to the national media, you would sometimes have a snide party official feed you false information just to put you on the spot. They would soon find out who it is at the microphone and who has the final say.
And it is not always what is said on the podium that matters as much as the chats over a beer after work. An effective spokesperson is someone who has earned a reputation for being knowledgeable and telling the media what can be said in a straightforward manner.
And before you make any casual comparison to other leaders, living or dead, you had better be damn sure of your facts.
Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry
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