Word of the Week #116:

Pivot

Now, before you get your hopes too high, let me just clarify that this is not a Ross Geller appreciation post.

Although, now that I think about it, that too is long overdue…

No, today we talk about this one trick that politicians and their spokespersons use when asked a difficult question.

The truly inept ones will start by lying, and end up looking foolishly out of depth. Of course, for some individuals, this is their go-to move.

The skilled ones, however, will follow a simple routine to dance around the discussion until the interviewer and the audience are too confounded to carry on.

I could teach you how to do it, if you’d like…

Step #0: Catch the interviewer, or the camera, in a dead eye stare. Establish a position of benevolent dominance.

Step #1: Catch a keyword, or a phrase, from the question and shoot off into an unrelated tangent. This way, it looks like you have answered the question, but you have not.

Now, most interviewers, either trying to seem polite or adhering to a strict timeline, will let the question go. Some reporters, however, are more tenacious than others, and will keep repeating the question. What do you do now?

Step #1 (a): As a novice, you might try to dodge the specifics and continue to move farther and faster on the tangent. This may exasperated the interviewer enough to lose balance, or simply leave the audience too disinterested to care.

Step #1 (b): Once you are experienced enough, you will be able to take this chance to paint the interviewer as a biased, and rude, opponent, instead of being a neutral observer. This is meant to sow seeds of mistrust towards the media, and will usually polarise the audience.

Step #2: Blame it on the opposition. This is, of course, the most basic tactic but its efficacy is almost alarming. Irrespective of whether this blame is justified, the audience will be distracted from the facts.

Step #3: Equate the interviewer with the opposition. Firmly establish a bias against yourself. YOU are the real victim here.

Step #4: Counter. Since you have already established that the media is the opposition and the opposition is guilty, you can now force your interviewer on the defensive with some sharp questions and allegations of your own.

  • If he tries to dissociate himself from your allegations, he undercuts your opponents in the process.
  • If he tries to justify your opponents’ actions, he further consolidates the perception of bias.
  • If he tries to dodge the questions or deny the allegations, he seems evasive and unreliable.

In any of the above, you are the winner.

Step #5: Accept your victory, and assure the audience that things are better with you in charge of the situation.

See. Simple, right?

Of course, don’t blame me if you try this on your college professor and get into trouble, okay?

Class dismissed.

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Word of the Week #109:

Dichotomy

So, I have a simple question, tonight.

Which of the following would you consider a more important news story?

  1. A comedian is found guilty of drugging and molesting a woman.
  2. Another comedian told mean jokes.

Well, a quick look at the headlines of the day reveals what the media and the government seems to think.

 

 

 

Shall I go into the background of the situation?

Well, there is this annual event known as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, attended by, as you can imagine, White House employees and correspondents. This year, as is tradition, a comedian was invited to make fun of the media and the government.

Now, apparently, some people took offence to some of the jokes, namely, and least surprisingly, the media and the government.

So, what were these allegedly filthy jokes?

Well, many people disapproved that she called a liar a liar. Apparently that crossed a line of some sort. She also did compliment her make up, but apparently that also offensive, these days.

So now the man who makes his living by mocking and abusing women, immigrants, foreigners, Muslims, among others, and the minions who work for him, will now tell us what is acceptable and what is not?

And the media, which claims to pride itself on speaking truth to power is suddenly too fragile to have a taste of its own medicine?

Of course, let us just not talk about Fox News… Just, no…

The silver lining of this ridiculous episode is the fact that Michelle Wolf herself has refused to apologise, and all prominent comedians stand strong in her support.

Nonetheless, it is truly a strange time when comedians are held to a higher moral standard than the President.


PS: The Correspondents’ Dinner is supposedly meant to celebrate the Freedom of Speech. The irony…