The Media Resent Manipulation

By Eric M. Seidel, CEO
Whether real, or imagined, when the media feel like they’re being told what to report and how, you’re potentially in for a more difficult time.

After 15 bank executives paraded out of their White House meeting with Pres. Obama last week, a flock of reporters moved in and herded them to a set of microphones for a debriefing.

The execs were intent on putting a positive spin on their meeting, emphasizing points of agreement with the administration. Reporters, on the other hand, probed more negative issues, like excessive executive pay and bonuses. One CEO, Bancorp’s Richard Davis, went a bit too far with his response and it precipitated more pointed questions.

Here’s a partial transcript with the potentially offending language highlighted, and a video of the complete segment is right below that.

“We appreciate the fact that’s a winnowing point for the press…it’s not something the industry supports or wants the press to pick up onWe’re changing the dialog and we’re looking forward to giving you new opportunities to celebrate peoples’ special stories of successand we are responsible in some part for some of the sound bites that have come out along the way…but we’re going to move forward to give you better things to write about, to talk about and better stories to show what’s happening in the great recovery of this country…”

One other note. Davis unequivocally stated that the pay and bonus issues were not discussed with the president. However, Obama told Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Sunday, March 29th that the issue did come up because he brought it up. An edited video here illustrates the contradiction:

One thought on “The Media Resent Manipulation

  1. It would appear that Mr. Davis had read the media strategy memo from his advisors and mistakenly embraced it as his talking points. Moral of the story: focus execs’ attention more on what they should be saying and less on why they need to say it.

    Great object lesson, Eric.

    John Kessling
    Acumen Strategic Communications

    John Kessling

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