Thursday, October 20, 2005
Why does The Media keep asking me about stuff I don't want to talk about?
I love the way public figures Deal With The Media nowadays. The Minnesota Vikings are just the latest example. By way of background, Vikings players chartered two boats Oct. 6, flew in some strippers for the occasion, and had themselves a drunken orgy. Unfortunately for them, their party was discovered--largely because they left used condoms and sex toys on the boat. Smooth. (When questioned, Vikes running back and admitted party attendee Mewelde Moore said "What are you talking about? That's crazy. Sex? Come on." I know, Mewelde - pro athletes banging strippers? What will they think of next? I'll just be in my spaceship.)
Anyway, in the ensuing days, Vikings coaches and players received some media inquiries about this at their regular news conferences. When the issue came up, they rolled their eyes, incredulous that a reporter would be so audacious or unprofessional as to bring up something they didn't feel comfortable discussing, then said something to the effect of "if there are no more questions about this week's game, I'm leaving," and then they get up and leave. This seems to now be status quo for public figures who do something that draws media (meaning public) scrutiny. Politicians - and we all know which ones - use this strategy all the time. A reporter brings up something unsavory, you roll your eyes and belittle them and imply that it's a stupid subject not worth anyone's time. There is always the unspoken (or spoken) threat that this figure will cut off a reporter's access unless they kowtow and play along. Of course, the figure will be more than happy to cooperate once they have a ghost-written book to plug on the subject, but that's another blog altogether.
And you know what? This all seems to work. I just wish I could get away with this in my life just as they do. I wish I could stop paying bills for a few months, and when the bill collector comes a-knockin', just say "I'm closing this door right now if you're not here to have a civil conversation with me about my new stereo." Or, perhaps I could take a few weeks of unannounced leave from work, and upon my return say "Look, boss. Unless you want to discuss my humanitarian work, this conversation is over." Of course, the media can't compel these people to answer, so it's not a perfect comparison. But I think you see what I mean.
Bottom line - if you don't want your actions to be questioned, then DON'T DO ANYTHING QUESTIONABLE! See how that works? Great. I'm glad we had this little talk. Now no more questions.
(Photo credit: Brandt Williams/MPR Photo)