Sarah Palin

Republican Clowns

The photoshopping in this Flickr collection is pretty amazing. The only downside is that there’s no Democrat equivalent. Bipartisan clowns would be awesome.

Michelle Bachmann.

Sarah Palin

Ron Paul

George W. Bush

Rupert Murdoch

Rick Perry

Gold. Jerry. Gold.

Keeping Mum

Godfather Vito Corleone taught son Michael one important lesson – keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Without wanting to give anything dramatic away – for those who haven’t seen the Godfather II – Michael was betrayed by a family member. Which must really hurt.

Some public figures are learning a similar lesson about the importance of treating your family – and extended family – well.

Cricketer Mitchell Johnson has copped a public shellacking from his mother – for consorting with his fiancé – and rarely calling home to mum. The apron strings were clearly not as severed as Johnson believed…

"I get a text on Mother’s Day and a text on my birthday.
The last time I actually spoke to him was when the beach cricket was here (and) Dennis Lillee told him he had to ring his mother, so Mitchell rang me that day.
It has been like this since Jess came on the scene.
Up until he met Jessica we were very close . . . but he hasn’t spent a night under my roof since he met Jessica."

Johnson moved from Queensland to Western Australia to get away from his mother be with his lady friend – and it seems his mum wasn’t anticipating the consequences of the move…

"For the wives and the children I think it is great that they support them and send the over there, but who are these girlfriends? They are just girlfriends, Mitch met Jess and since then she has flown off to South Africa, to England and the Bahamas.

She gets all these trips, she gets flown there, accommodation, food and all of that."

It couldn’t possibly be a case of missing the perks could it?

My perennial political whipping woman – Sarah Palin – has also learned a lesson about not biting the hand that feeds your grandchild. Her disenfranchised ex-potential son-in-law – no doubt annoyed that he was thrust in the campaign spotlight for naught – has held a press conference. Yes, that’s right. A press conference. The high school jock who a year ago was heading towards a career hunting bears or something – called a press conference to spill the beans on his jilted almost-mother-in-law’s decision to resign.

Nineteen-year-old Levi Johnston, whose wedding to Bristol Palin was called off earlier this year, says he thinks the governor is resigning over personal finances.

Johnston says he lived with the Palin family from early December to the second week in January. He claims he heard the governor several times say how nice it would be to take advantage of the lucrative deals that were being offered, deals that included a reality show and a book.

Johnston made his comments at a news conference Thursday at his lawyer’s office.

After the McCain campaign paraded this guy around the country he wants a few more minutes of fame. So he’s becoming a Palin pundit.

What possesses people to settle family disputes through the media? It must surely put a permanent strain on the relationship – I can’t imagine Mitchell Johnson waking up feeling positively about his mum and inviting her to join him in England now – can you?

How to talk to the media without looking like an idiot

This post could, by rights, be renamed "Don’t be Sarah Palin"…

There’s nothing that annoys me more (both professionally and privately) than people botching interviews.

If the media is interviewing you it’s pretty much a free hit. They have a finite amount of time to gather better quotes from other people and your best chance of getting good exposure is saying something usable in a usable way.

Here are some general tips for broadcast interviews (because everyone loves a list):

  1. Don’t wear bright coloured stripes – they’ll bleed on screen and distract people (I’ve said that before I think).
  2. Look at the journalist not the camera – eye contact freaks out audiences.
  3. Don’t use the journalist’s name – you’re ultimately talking to the public, not the journalist. And throwing their name in the middle of your sentence makes the comment unusable.
  4. Have a go at actually answering the questions asked – most media trainers tell you to ignore the questions and regurgitate rehearsed PR guff. Chances are you’re not a politician and nobody really likes listening to that stuff. It’s usually full of weasel words – like “showcase”…

Right, so those are the basics.

The “un”-basics apply to more specific examples that have prompted this post. If you’re a politician holding a media coverage and you may or may not harbour desires to one day run for higher office – don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Particularly – don’t spend your time talking to the media complaining about how the media treats you. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy – where the attention turns to how badly you handled yourself by complaining about the media coverage you received… you don’t really want this sort of paragraph appearing in any story about you.

“Ms Palin delivered the news from the backyard of her home in Wasilla, in a sometimes rambling 18-minute speech that took 11 minutes to get to the punchline. She veered from pugnacious to bitter as she lamented her treatment at the hands of the media and her political foes.”

This may seem obvious – but don’t do interviews about topics that are likely to create controversy – or things you don’t know anything about. Particularly avoid controversial topics where you might find yourself praising Hitler. That’s never good for your personal branding.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has described Adolf Hitler as a leader able to"get things done" in a discussion about dictators during an interview with The Times newspaper.

Asked to comment on accusations that world motorsport chief Max Mosley behaved like a dictator, Ecclestone went on to speak about Hitler, former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein – whom he said should have stayed in power – and the Taliban.

"In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he … could command a lot of people, able to get things done," Ecclestone told The Times.

If you know it’s terrible to say – don’t say it. It’s easy.

When will she go away?

“Former US Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin is still mad at media coverage of her candidacy, particularly “anonymous, pathetic bloggers” who she says spread falsehoods about her.”

Guilty as charged. Although I’m not anonymous. And I don’t think anything I said was false. From the SMH.

“”If I were giving advice to myself back on the day my candidacy was announced, I’d say, ‘Tell the campaign that you’ll be callin’ some of the shots. Don’t just assume that they know you well enough to make all your decisions for ya,” Palin said.”

That would have been a real difference maker. She can’t open her mouth without sounding like an illiterate yokel.

“When I was in high school, my desire was to be a sportscaster,” she said. “Until I learned that you’d have to move to Bristol, Connecticut. It was far away. So instead, I had a daughter and named her Bristol.””

Turkey dies slow death in front of cameras

And birds prepared for Thanksgiving at the same time.

My favourite parts:
“Certainly, I’ll probably invite criticism for doing this too. But at least this was fun.”
“I’ll be in charge of the turkey… I’m always in charge of the turkeys.”
Yes, the turkeys in the background are getting it in the neck, literally, as she speaks.  It certainly did invite criticism – the interview was conducted after the Governor pardoned a turkey ahead of the Thanksgiving cull. The criticism largely came from the left – who it has to be said are the least likely Palin constituency. But still a PR lesson can be learned here – if you want a positive story for doing something nice to animals don’t do the doorstop interview in front of a slaughterhouse. Your message will be lost in the ensuing controversy.       

Phoning it in

I admire the resolve of sub editors around the world not to make racially charged puns on the dilemma surrounding Barack Obama and his blackberry. This is a serious issue people. Due to security concerns – and laws surrounding the status of presidential correspondence – the President of the United States does not have an email address. Lucky the Republicans didn’t get in – Sarah Palin’s passwords are really easy to crack.
Obama’s Blackberry was a constant companion during the campaign. And now he has to give it up – his tech savvy approach to grassroots campaigning was arguably the factor that won him the presidency – it certainly won him the primaries.
Why can the White House not afford to pay the best security people in the business to ensure their Commander in Chief can have access to technology? Surely the US Army doesn’t have its officers receiving correspondence by carrier pigeon?
Slate provides some interesting background on the drama – and in the process makes the argument for the President to have email access and the ability to hold on to his preferred communications device.

I, on the other hand, am not the President of the United States. And I want an iPhone. I am lobbying hard for iPhones to be the phone of choice in our office’s upgrade of our current mobiles.
iPhones don’t just look cool – they’re incredibly functional and extensible. They will not go out of date any time soon. Other tech companies (like Google) are struggling to release an iPhone killer – a device to dent the iPhone’s popularity. Here is my suggested iPhone killer:

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