Media Training Case Study: The Hillary Clinton Campaign

hil By Gerard Braud

The media lessons of Herman Cain, in our last article, should be heeded well by the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as by all public relations experts, CEOs and executives.

Lesson #1: Always consider the financial impact of your words.

Lesson #2: When you have big negatives in your past, you must be ready to explain them to the media the day you decide you want to be a candidate. Therefore, you must spend time to craft an answer, practice that answer, and be able to deliver it flawlessly the day you eventually get asked about it.

Lesson #3: Don’t be in denial about your negatives. The media will eventually find out and ask you about it and you’ll need a perfect quote and explanation.

Hillary Clinton is a much more masterful pro before the media than Cain. She’s been the first Lady of Arkansas and of the United States. She’s been a previous presidential candidate and the Secretary of State. However, she still is not perfect when it comes to answering questions. Some may believe she works as hard not to answer a question as she does to answer a question.

As she enters her campaign she will have to answer some heavy negative questions right from the start including questions about her Secretary of State emails on her personal server. Questions my arise about the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, and about her past in Arkansas with issues such as the death of Vince Foster and the Whitewater deal.

In the past, she tried to blame tough media scrutiny on, “A vast right wing conspiracy.” And for her loyal base, that answer worked. But the Sunday talk shows were abuzz with journalists bringing up the negatives previously mentioned here.

Regarding Lesson #1: The base has already filled her war chest, but if the media go negative on Clinton early and she does not reply properly in word or deed, she will be in trouble, either against an opponent in the primary or in the general election.

Regarding Lesson #2: Time will tell if she has plausible answers and quotes that will satisfy both the media and further questioning by Congress.

Regarding Lesson #3: If she fails to answer questions about her negatives, then she is in denial.

Some politicians with a strong base try to play the numbers game of knowing they have enough check-writing supporters to plow past their negatives. Wouldn’t it be easier to make the negatives go away with great planning and great quotes that provide a plausible and believable explanation?

Likewise, many corporate executives think their loyal customer or employee base will support them and the negatives will pass with time. My question is why wait? Why not be pro-active so you can focus on future positive rather than past negatives?

What do you think?

 

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