Wrestling With Pigs

By Eric Seidel, CEO
The Media Trainers®

(From the editor: Any bona fide journalists reading this should not take offense. I used to be one of you, and I’m proud of it. Those who deal wisely with the news media know how to do it without getting into the slop.)

Certainly you’ve heard the old refrain that when you wrestle with a pig in mud, only the pig enjoys it. That highly graphic image often has been applied to dealing with the news media. Of course, news most often is negative, with the exception of so-called positive stories that break through because they’re unusual.

Let your emotions get out of control and people watching might condemn the pig for being rude to you, but you’re still not above the fray. You’ve been dragged into the mud. And, your mission—to get messages to important audiences—most likely will fail.

And that’s what happened to BusinessWeek’s online “Ethics Guy” Dr. Bruce Weinstein (a Ph.D.) in a recent interview about whether healthcare is a right. His interviewer on the Fox Business Network was Stuart Varney. Weinstein believes the government has a moral responsibility to provide healthcare to all. Varney is a Brit by birth and is someone who has experience with socialized healthcare.

It was that word—socialism—suggested by Varney that set off Weinstein. Weinstein pounded the desk and raised his voice. His rising anger was palpable. He even attacked Fox’s two cable networks. Varney was doing his job and even smiled at one point during Weinstein’s meltdown. (Click on video below to see for yourself.)

Who won? I’m not sure that question is even relevant. My evaluation is Weinstein allowed himself to be sucked in and derailed from his overall message because he failed to control his feelings.

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