Note: Denny Hatch personally replies to all correspondence.
Readers Respond & Debate “How to Deal with the Media,” published June 22, 2006.
“Beware of the taped TV interview. A suck-up reporter will show up with a camera crew and will ask a lot of questions that make you feel very important. The result will be a one-sentence sound bite taken out of context designed to buttress the producer’s biased agenda or be the one dissenting opinion amidst a blizzard of verbiage from the other side. Either way, you’ll look like a jerk. When asked to do a TV interview, I always reply, ‘I don’t do sound bites.’ The TV taped interview is truly the one area where you have zero control.”
About twenty years ago, my father was interviewed by Harry Reasoner on “60 Minutes” because he was a leading expert on political action committees and because he was IN FAVOR of them. Reasoner interviewed Dad in his office for two hours in order to provide “balance” for what was obviously a journalistic hit piece against PACs. My father laid out the case for PACs chapter and verse. During that time, however, he uttered one or two sentences that were critical of how some corporations had abused their PACs. Guess which two sentences made it on to “60 Minutes!”
P.S. The funniest part was this. About two years after their attack piece on PACs featuring my father’s sound bite aired, “60 Minutes” did another piece on an organization called “Emily’s List.” The reporters at “60 Minutes” had never encountered such a wonderful organization! Imagine, a group of public-spirited women getting together to pool their financial resources and using the money to support political candidates in favor of women’s issues. “60 Minutes” blew kisses at Emily’s List for the entire 12-minute segment. well, guess what. Emily’s List is a f*****g PAC!!!!!
Access is what marketing and advertising is all about. For once, I agree with your main point. My problem has always been too much access by those to whom I have no access. Local peers have long since given up protecting their marketing plans from “media researchers,” but I recall great pains by Holiday Inn executives to secure Holiday Press from peering eyes. My own early attempts at protecting marketing graphics at MediaGraphics caused many fruitless hours in court rooms and legal offices. In my case, being branded as a maverick also deep-sixed my chances to establish the local graphics company I set out to have: locals had loads of fun pulling me in on “reviews,” then buying somewhere else or just selling the idea. I’ve nevertheless remained faithful to paying clients. Despite federal laws to the contrary, if they buy a promotion from me, it’s theirs. Problem is, they don’t want me to sell anything similar to somebody else. Although by the time I pick up another client, the concept has been overused all over the country and is no longer very productive. It’s been fun, though cheating in business has become so pervasive, America’s conscience has degraded along with our image throughout the world. Hope I’m not getting too old to fight on.
“War is a high-stakes game. Worldwide passions can be inflamed by scoop-happy reporters more interested in getting the news out rather than getting it right.” Great piece. You might like to alter your archive copy to read something like: War is a high-stakes game. Worldwide passions can be inflamed by scoop-happy reporters more interested in getting credit for a news item rather than getting it right. Are reporters motivated by being the first with a story or serving the readers with the best info possible? Love your columns.
A Reader Responds to “Immigration: Put a Direct Marketing Writer in Charge,” published June 20, 2006.
I was partly delighted to see your headline, “Immigration: Put a Direct Marketing Writer in Charge.” But only partly. You see, as a direct marketing writer, I would suggest not limiting the issue to immigration. I’m sure you agree that there are very few political, social, or economic problems that can’t be solved with damn good direct copy. I’m sure this was just an oversight on your part so I will continue reading your material with enthusiasm. Best regards.