B²: Terror Attacks

The tragic events of the last 7 days are too familiar. We’ve now witnessed 4 separate attacks in 4 months. From Paris to San Bernardino to Brussels to Pakistan, the world continues to unite with and mourn for those affected, as well as talk about how to prevent similar attacks in the future.

But with Obama’s tone deaf response…

…and a presidential candidate’s knee-jerk declaration to build a wall, ban Muslims, and waterboard, reporters can easily steer you away from a constructive policy conversation to defeat ISIS.

If you plan to focus on policy rather than the politician, do you know how to remain above the fray and offer a way forward?

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: “We’ve witnessed 4 terrorist attacks in 4 months. Do you agree with Donald Trump on how we deal with this?”

B²: “I don’t and here’s why – while it is true that we need to remain vigilant at home, the best way to prevent future attacks here is to have a clear strategy to combat ISIS over there. We need to <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, shift the focus from politician to policy. True, it is fair game to call out responses that are less than helpful (cc: Obama and Trump), but the middle ground remains wide open. Occupy it. No matter your foreign policy, now is the time to have a serious discussion about how to keep the American people safe and prevent future attacks on our soil.

B²: Paris and Climate Change

All eyes are focused on Paris. In the weeks and months to come, the world will watch and pray as the City of Light recovers and begins to move forward in the wake of Friday’s attacks.

Part of the movement forward will be highlighted later this month as leaders from across the world, including President Obama, plan to meet in Paris at the UN Conference on Climate Change with hopes of securing an international agreement aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The anticipation of this conference combined with the President’s recent rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline, his introduction of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan in August, and his claim that climate change is a national security threat suggest that your next media interview could be tricky to navigate.

While many scholars and policy analysts offer accurate and strong counterpoints, specifically focused on the high costs of these policies without any significant reduction of CO2 emissions, a reporter’s questions can easily throw you off your game. With such varied and vast policies, it’s impossible to know every angle of every question. Instead, you can focus on combating the inevitable label of “polar bear hater” the media will try to affix.

Do you know how to show compassion for the environment while outlining the harmful consequences of these policies?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

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

Q: “But these policies will reduce carbon emissions and, therefore, reduce our energy footprint. Isn’t that something we should strive for?”

: “We should strive for policies that make our energy use clean while keeping costs low for those already struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the policies outlined do little to fulfill either goal because <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, first establish common ground. Once you communicate unity over a shared concern for the environment, then you can call out bad policy and advocate for a better solution. Vilifying those who champion climate change will get you and your narrative nowhere. A winning message starts with common ground, calls out bad policy, and offers a more workable solution – in that order.