B²: “Lucifer in the flesh.”

When asked about Senator Ted Cruz last week, former speaker John Boehner made his feelings known. In case anyone thought otherwise, there is now no confusion over how Boehner feels towards Cruz and consequently who he’ll vote for in November.

Got it. Thanks.

But what did Boehner gain by taking off the kid gloves? And is his tactic worth repeating? It depends on what he was trying to accomplish. Two things are for sure:

  1. The media appreciated Boehner’s candor as the headlines wrote themselves for a few days.
  2. His abrasive language probably won him some cool kid points. As the current state of politics has demonstrated, there is a sizable voter base that craves this kind of truthfulness (*cough cough* Donald Trump).

All in all, not a terrible fallout…if your goal isn’t elected office or a policy change. But what if it is? Does DMG recommend you follow Boehner’s lead when a reporter asks you to comment on someone you don’t like?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “What do you think about <insert name>?”

B²: “He/she and I definitely have some differences, which is why I propose <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t assess motive. It’s permissible to criticize policy, but don’t make it personal. Doing so never ends well – the news cycle grabs hold of your negative statement and plays it on repeat for days thereby turning the conversation from substantive to superficial. The result? The audience knows you’ll never pick so-and-so to play on your team, but the message you carefully crafted and wanted to communicate was never heard – major bummer.

B²: McCarthy’s Mishap

If Kevin McCarthy taught us anything last week, it’s that words matter.

With one impassioned statement, he not only took himself out of the running for Speaker of the House, but called into question the motive behind the Benghazi hearings and gave Hillary the lifeline she needed.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on September 29th, tension was high from the start. But the wheels came off the moment Hannity asked McCarthy to grade Boehner.

When Hannity disapproved of the “B-“ response, a visibly agitated McCarthy tried to take control of the interview by asking HIMSELF a question – “The question I think you really want to ask me is, how am I going to be different?” His answer to his own question included the now-infamous comment proudly displayed in a Hillary Clinton attack ad.

McCarthy clearly stepped in it, but the catalyst was his frustrated response when asked to grade Boehner’s performance as Speaker. How common is this question? More common than you think. With any major departure in DC, the “report card” question is often asked. Do you know how to answer so as to satisfy the host while keeping your cool?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “What grade would you give Speaker Boehner?”

B²: “I’d give him a passing grade for handing over the gavel without a knock-down, drag-out fight, but the reason he had to step down in the first place was because people want leadership that <insert talking point>.”

If you are asked to give a grade, stick to a “passing grade” or a “failing grade,” and then block and bridge to YOUR talking point. Giving a specific letter grade will often not satisfy the host who then has more ammunition for disagreement. Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t get mad – composure will always trump frustration.

B²: Stupid Questions

Stupid questions happen…a lot.

Sometimes it’s because the reporter’s job is to ask questions already presented in the news cycle, whether the questions are of high quality or not. Other times, it’s because the reporter is not an expert in the field and doesn’t know what to ask.

Regardless of the reason, less-than-intelligent and/or unfair questions are asked.

Last Thursday, Speaker of the House John Boehner found himself on the receiving end of such a question and he let the reporter, and the rest of America, know.

When asked whether Amtrak was well-funded enough in the lead-up to the crash of Amtrak 188, his response began with:

“Are you really going to ask such a stupid question?”

Speaker Boehner’s approach to what he thought was an ignorant question was to call out the reporter. Media, even the usually friendly Daily Caller, covered Boehner’s derisive response more than the content of his answer.

Do you know how to handle stupid questions?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s the likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “<Insert ‘Stupid’ Question>”

: “Let me put it this way…”

A simple phrase like the one above (another option is “Let me put that into perspective”) is a way to redirect without insulting the reporter.

Even if you think the question is lacking, includes a faulty premise, or is unfair, simply B² it to avoid headlines like “xxx shames reporters.” If you attack the reporter, you seem rude. And, your frustration will be captured forever in a media clip.