Bad Media Training and What You Can Learn From It

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Dan Janal, an expert on working with the media, just published the following in his newsletter. I like the way he takes what politicians do as a guide to what we should avoid. If you need to communicate with others to get your job done (say leading change for example) then this list is worth paying attention to.

Media Training for Politicians

I’m hooked on all the news and opinion shows about politics. I’ve noticed several media training tips that politicians seem to use. Could they help you? I hope not!

That’s right.


These answers are probably the least-classy way to respond to media – and they do it all the time.

1. Deny you said it.

2. Say the media misinterpreted your comments.

3. Apologize for the media misinterpreting your comments.

4. Say the other side twisted your comments.

5. Say the other side does the same thing.

6. Say the other side does the same thing even worse.

7. Say the media doesn’t call out the other side for doing the same thing. (The media gave them a free ride.)

8. Blame the media for reporting this. Say it isn’t a story.

9. Change the subject.

A typical response sounds like this:

“I never said that. But if you heard it that way, I’m sorry you didn’t understand what I really meant. They are taking what I said out of context. Besides, they’ve been doing the same thing for years, and they do it even more than they admit. I’m surprised you aren’t calling them out for it. Of course, you always give them a free pass because you are aligned with their agenda. I don’t even know why you are reporting on this. It isn’t even a real story. By the way, why aren’t you writing about …”

Doesn’t that sound like a five-year old trying to answer the question, “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” The only thing missing from this rebuttal is, “I’m going to tell Daddy.”

If you want good media relations, don’t listen to politicians.


Here’s some info on Dan. he’s a great guy, by the way.
Dan Janal helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. My clients get terrific results from my coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to or call me at 952-380-1554.

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