On Message? You Missed The Point.
On Message? You Missed The Point.
by

Driving to work the morning after Election Day I caught an interview with Renee Montagne and newly elected North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan. Montagne asked the senator-elect to elaborate on something which was a very simple request. The Dole-Hagan battle turned on a negative ad the Dole camp ran which many felt crossed the line into the unfair. Montagne said to Hagan, “Briefly remind us what that ad was an how big of a role you think it played.”

Image by tvvoodoo on Stock.Xchng
What the public mostly sees when spokespeople rely on talking points and messaging to avoid answering the question. Image by tvvoodoo on Stock.Xchng

Hagan made small mention of the attack tactic and then redirected the answer to mindless ‘tician talk focused on the topics of the economy, jobs in North Carolina and bringing change to Washington. When Montagne pressed, even politely offering she didn’t want to dwell on old news but did want to get an answer to her question of what impact the ad played, Hagan did the same redirect to the issue babble. By reciting campaign talking points over and over again two things became very clear to me. First, Hagan isn’t very smart. She won the election. There’s no need to continue campaigning. Second, and more importantly, in today’s media environment, she’s not a good communicator.

Several communications and public relations professional just uttered, “WTF?!”

Was she on message? Yes. Did she hit her talking points? Yes. Did she steer away from a sensitive or negative subject to refocus the conversation? Yes. So why am I claiming she isn’t a good communicator?

She didn’t answer the question.

From a philosophical point of view, social media is a reflection of the preferred communications of today’s consumer. People want dialog, conversation, both of which demand humanity from the other party. This is why you’ll hear many a social media strategist say your company must be human. You can’t have a conversation with a logo or a building.

Whether a brand, a corporation or a politician (arguably less human than many buildings), to be an effective communicator in today’s media environment, you have to participate in the conversation. This dictates you must listen as well as talk. Give as well as receive.

It dictates that you answer the question.

I would propose that all of our audiences, be they on-line or off-, now demand that humanity. Talking points and messaging are one-way communications mechanisms of the old guard. They’re cold. They’re impersonal. Kinda like a building. You can’t have a conversation with a building. Renee Montagne, as good as she is, had a hard time having a conversation with Hagan because she stayed on message.

Public relations professionals should consider this as they prepare their CEOs and spokespeople to represent the company or brand in media opportunities. Talking points and messaging certainly can be intertwined into the conversation, but it will take a much smarter talking head than we’re used to seeing to pull it off. I would challenge you to teach them how to have a conversation, not hit the company messaging.

If not, your CEO can talk circles around the finest of reporters. But no one will be listening.

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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
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  • And your point, Jim, is the point – We need communications professionals to stop programming politicians and teach them how to have real conversations again. Well stated and much appreciated. Thanks for the comment.

  • And your point, Jim, is the point – We need communications professionals to stop programming politicians and teach them how to have real conversations again. Well stated and much appreciated. Thanks for the comment.

  • And your point, Jim, is the point – We need communications professionals to stop programming politicians and teach them how to have real conversations again. Well stated and much appreciated. Thanks for the comment.

  • And your point, Jim, is the point – We need communications professionals to stop programming politicians and teach them how to have real conversations again. Well stated and much appreciated. Thanks for the comment.

  • While I share your frustration, i would like to throw something out there. Politicians aren't just trained to answer questions like Hagan. They're actually trained to respond to keywords with stock phrases. It's one of the reasons that politicians sound so incredibly stupid in the debates.

    The argument is that for many people, an interview or debate is the only time they will see or hear the politician. Thus what sounds incredibly dull and repetitive to someone who is keyed in, sounds refreshing and comforting to the swing voters, which are the people who tune in at the end of an election.

    Take Palin. A lot of hay was made about Palin's responses to Couric, but it's clear that her baffling responses were the result of too many keywords in Couric's questions. The real game is figuring out when a politician is playing dumb, and when they're just a wind-em-up monkey who has nice hair and takes orders well. The standard role of running of president isn't any of the things we would ask for – it's the ability to give the same speech hundreds of times, while raising large amounts of money, and getting the public and other politicians to project their thoughts as your own. That's what a politician does, and the leadership and decision making abilities, you hope are there.

    And while it would be nice to have intelligent politicians (Obama's intelligence clearly won over a large number of upper income voters that voted Bush in 2004), it also gives the opposition the chance to seize on things that are said and twist them. When you take a stand, you're alienating someone, and giving your opponent the chance to define you.

    Of course, it helps if the media has a story they want to tell, and you know how to play into that. As for Kagan, her lack of response could be the inability to respond, or it could be that she was told not to, and thus never left her comfort zone, no matter how lame it was.

  • While I share your frustration, i would like to throw something out there. Politicians aren't just trained to answer questions like Hagan. They're actually trained to respond to keywords with stock phrases. It's one of the reasons that politicians sound so incredibly stupid in the debates.

    The argument is that for many people, an interview or debate is the only time they will see or hear the politician. Thus what sounds incredibly dull and repetitive to someone who is keyed in, sounds refreshing and comforting to the swing voters, which are the people who tune in at the end of an election.

    Take Palin. A lot of hay was made about Palin's responses to Couric, but it's clear that her baffling responses were the result of too many keywords in Couric's questions. The real game is figuring out when a politician is playing dumb, and when they're just a wind-em-up monkey who has nice hair and takes orders well. The standard role of running of president isn't any of the things we would ask for – it's the ability to give the same speech hundreds of times, while raising large amounts of money, and getting the public and other politicians to project their thoughts as your own. That's what a politician does, and the leadership and decision making abilities, you hope are there.

    And while it would be nice to have intelligent politicians (Obama's intelligence clearly won over a large number of upper income voters that voted Bush in 2004), it also gives the opposition the chance to seize on things that are said and twist them. When you take a stand, you're alienating someone, and giving your opponent the chance to define you.

    Of course, it helps if the media has a story they want to tell, and you know how to play into that. As for Kagan, her lack of response could be the inability to respond, or it could be that she was told not to, and thus never left her comfort zone, no matter how lame it was.

  • While I share your frustration, i would like to throw something out there. Politicians aren't just trained to answer questions like Hagan. They're actually trained to respond to keywords with stock phrases. It's one of the reasons that politicians sound so incredibly stupid in the debates.

    The argument is that for many people, an interview or debate is the only time they will see or hear the politician. Thus what sounds incredibly dull and repetitive to someone who is keyed in, sounds refreshing and comforting to the swing voters, which are the people who tune in at the end of an election.

    Take Palin. A lot of hay was made about Palin's responses to Couric, but it's clear that her baffling responses were the result of too many keywords in Couric's questions. The real game is figuring out when a politician is playing dumb, and when they're just a wind-em-up monkey who has nice hair and takes orders well. The standard role of running of president isn't any of the things we would ask for – it's the ability to give the same speech hundreds of times, while raising large amounts of money, and getting the public and other politicians to project their thoughts as your own. That's what a politician does, and the leadership and decision making abilities, you hope are there.

    And while it would be nice to have intelligent politicians (Obama's intelligence clearly won over a large number of upper income voters that voted Bush in 2004), it also gives the opposition the chance to seize on things that are said and twist them. When you take a stand, you're alienating someone, and giving your opponent the chance to define you.

    Of course, it helps if the media has a story they want to tell, and you know how to play into that. As for Kagan, her lack of response could be the inability to respond, or it could be that she was told not to, and thus never left her comfort zone, no matter how lame it was.

  • While I share your frustration, i would like to throw something out there. Politicians aren't just trained to answer questions like Hagan. They're actually trained to respond to keywords with stock phrases. It's one of the reasons that politicians sound so incredibly stupid in the debates.

    The argument is that for many people, an interview or debate is the only time they will see or hear the politician. Thus what sounds incredibly dull and repetitive to someone who is keyed in, sounds refreshing and comforting to the swing voters, which are the people who tune in at the end of an election.

    Take Palin. A lot of hay was made about Palin's responses to Couric, but it's clear that her baffling responses were the result of too many keywords in Couric's questions. The real game is figuring out when a politician is playing dumb, and when they're just a wind-em-up monkey who has nice hair and takes orders well. The standard role of running of president isn't any of the things we would ask for – it's the ability to give the same speech hundreds of times, while raising large amounts of money, and getting the public and other politicians to project their thoughts as your own. That's what a politician does, and the leadership and decision making abilities, you hope are there.

    And while it would be nice to have intelligent politicians (Obama's intelligence clearly won over a large number of upper income voters that voted Bush in 2004), it also gives the opposition the chance to seize on things that are said and twist them. When you take a stand, you're alienating someone, and giving your opponent the chance to define you.

    Of course, it helps if the media has a story they want to tell, and you know how to play into that. As for Kagan, her lack of response could be the inability to respond, or it could be that she was told not to, and thus never left her comfort zone, no matter how lame it was.

    • And your point, Jim, is the point – We need communications professionals to stop programming politicians and teach them how to have real conversations again. Well stated and much appreciated. Thanks for the comment.

  • Great post. You articulated exactly why listening to politicians is so infuriating sometimes, and why the “town hall” format of debates can be a boon for voters, if the candidates really answer the questions.

  • Great post. You articulated exactly why listening to politicians is so infuriating sometimes, and why the “town hall” format of debates can be a boon for voters, if the candidates really answer the questions.

  • Great post. You articulated exactly why listening to politicians is so infuriating sometimes, and why the “town hall” format of debates can be a boon for voters, if the candidates really answer the questions.

  • Great post. You articulated exactly why listening to politicians is so infuriating sometimes, and why the “town hall” format of debates can be a boon for voters, if the candidates really answer the questions.

  • Hey Jen,

    It all boils down to honesty. If you can't answer the question, then you're hiding something. If you're hiding something, I don't trust you. If I don't trust you, then the conversation's over.

  • Hey Jen,

    It all boils down to honesty. If you can't answer the question, then you're hiding something. If you're hiding something, I don't trust you. If I don't trust you, then the conversation's over.

  • Hey Jen,

    It all boils down to honesty. If you can't answer the question, then you're hiding something. If you're hiding something, I don't trust you. If I don't trust you, then the conversation's over.

  • Thank you, Frank. Appreciate your perspective and agree with your points.

  • Thank you, Frank. Appreciate your perspective and agree with your points.

  • Thank you, Frank. Appreciate your perspective and agree with your points.

  • Hey Wes. Unfortunatley, PR pros aren't WTF-ing over Hagan, just me. Most PR pros probably listened to the interview and said, “She did a good job of sticking to her talking points.” My reaction was, “She's a freakin' inanimate object.” Guess that's why I'm not getting any big PR job offers. Heh.

  • Hey Wes. Unfortunatley, PR pros aren't WTF-ing over Hagan, just me. Most PR pros probably listened to the interview and said, “She did a good job of sticking to her talking points.” My reaction was, “She's a freakin' inanimate object.” Guess that's why I'm not getting any big PR job offers. Heh.

  • Hey Wes. Unfortunatley, PR pros aren't WTF-ing over Hagan, just me. Most PR pros probably listened to the interview and said, “She did a good job of sticking to her talking points.” My reaction was, “She's a freakin' inanimate object.” Guess that's why I'm not getting any big PR job offers. Heh.

  • Everyone looks more human when they're dusting themselves off. If only they'd done a better job of it before the election, it might have been different.

    Thanks for stopping by again, Lisa.

  • Everyone looks more human when they're dusting themselves off. If only they'd done a better job of it before the election, it might have been different.

    Thanks for stopping by again, Lisa.

  • Everyone looks more human when they're dusting themselves off. If only they'd done a better job of it before the election, it might have been different.

    Thanks for stopping by again, Lisa.

  • It is, Katie. Just hoping that we as communications professionals can start helping spokespeople, especially politicians, understand that what made up a “skilled communicator” a few years ago no longer holds water. We want transparency, honesty and integrity in our communications now. That's what social media has given the marketplace. And it carries over off-line as well.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • It is, Katie. Just hoping that we as communications professionals can start helping spokespeople, especially politicians, understand that what made up a “skilled communicator” a few years ago no longer holds water. We want transparency, honesty and integrity in our communications now. That's what social media has given the marketplace. And it carries over off-line as well.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • It is, Katie. Just hoping that we as communications professionals can start helping spokespeople, especially politicians, understand that what made up a “skilled communicator” a few years ago no longer holds water. We want transparency, honesty and integrity in our communications now. That's what social media has given the marketplace. And it carries over off-line as well.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Well, Arnold, I think anyone who asks a question, at the core of it all, deserves an answer. Certainly, there are times when the motivations of the question asker adulterate that situation, but this wasn't one of them. So, no. I'm not going to get over it. The humanity of conversation demands a mutual level of respect from person to person. Flippant and circumventing answers only mean you're trying to manipulate the conversation, which makes you less credible.

  • Well, Arnold, I think anyone who asks a question, at the core of it all, deserves an answer. Certainly, there are times when the motivations of the question asker adulterate that situation, but this wasn't one of them. So, no. I'm not going to get over it. The humanity of conversation demands a mutual level of respect from person to person. Flippant and circumventing answers only mean you're trying to manipulate the conversation, which makes you less credible.

  • Well, Arnold, I think anyone who asks a question, at the core of it all, deserves an answer. Certainly, there are times when the motivations of the question asker adulterate that situation, but this wasn't one of them. So, no. I'm not going to get over it. The humanity of conversation demands a mutual level of respect from person to person. Flippant and circumventing answers only mean you're trying to manipulate the conversation, which makes you less credible.

  • Arnold T

    Haha, who said anyone deserves an answer just because they ask a question? That is the point. A question is by definition framing the argument, framing the interview, framing the conversation. Just because you want to do the framing does not mean you will get to do so. You obviously had an agenda in wanting to discuss your topic. But your agenda will not always carry the day with others. Get over it.

  • Arnold T

    Haha, who said anyone deserves an answer just because they ask a question? That is the point. A question is by definition framing the argument, framing the interview, framing the conversation. Just because you want to do the framing does not mean you will get to do so. You obviously had an agenda in wanting to discuss your topic. But your agenda will not always carry the day with others. Get over it.

  • Arnold T

    Haha, who said anyone deserves an answer just because they ask a question? That is the point. A question is by definition framing the argument, framing the interview, framing the conversation. Just because you want to do the framing does not mean you will get to do so. You obviously had an agenda in wanting to discuss your topic. But your agenda will not always carry the day with others. Get over it.

  • Arnold T

    Haha, who said anyone deserves an answer just because they ask a question? That is the point. A question is by definition framing the argument, framing the interview, framing the conversation. Just because you want to do the framing does not mean you will get to do so. You obviously had an agenda in wanting to discuss your topic. But your agenda will not always carry the day with others. Get over it.

    • Well, Arnold, I think anyone who asks a question, at the core of it all, deserves an answer. Certainly, there are times when the motivations of the question asker adulterate that situation, but this wasn't one of them. So, no. I'm not going to get over it. The humanity of conversation demands a mutual level of respect from person to person. Flippant and circumventing answers only mean you're trying to manipulate the conversation, which makes you less credible.

  • seth godin

    Proof! (sorry for the typo)

  • seth godin

    Proof! (sorry for the typo)

  • seth godin

    Proof! (sorry for the typo)

  • JenZingsheim

    Jason, great post. I remember media training in PR and politics almost always started off with “answer the question you want asked, and are prepared to answer, not the question that was asked.” It made me squeamish, because while it does keep people on message, it is evasive. Only a select few were talented enough to answer in that manner, stay on message, and only later (much later if ever) did people come around to “…hey…wait a minute. He/she didn't answer the question.” The rest just look like they didn't understand the question, which in my opinion is far worse.

    I too, wish people–from politicians on down–would just answer the question. Whether this becomes a trend…well…we'll see…

    Jen

  • JenZingsheim

    Jason, great post. I remember media training in PR and politics almost always started off with “answer the question you want asked, and are prepared to answer, not the question that was asked.” It made me squeamish, because while it does keep people on message, it is evasive. Only a select few were talented enough to answer in that manner, stay on message, and only later (much later if ever) did people come around to “…hey…wait a minute. He/she didn't answer the question.” The rest just look like they didn't understand the question, which in my opinion is far worse.

    I too, wish people–from politicians on down–would just answer the question. Whether this becomes a trend…well…we'll see…

    Jen

  • JenZingsheim

    Jason, great post. I remember media training in PR and politics almost always started off with “answer the question you want asked, and are prepared to answer, not the question that was asked.” It made me squeamish, because while it does keep people on message, it is evasive. Only a select few were talented enough to answer in that manner, stay on message, and only later (much later if ever) did people come around to “…hey…wait a minute. He/she didn't answer the question.” The rest just look like they didn't understand the question, which in my opinion is far worse.

    I too, wish people–from politicians on down–would just answer the question. Whether this becomes a trend…well…we'll see…

    Jen

  • JenZingsheim

    Jason, great post. I remember media training in PR and politics almost always started off with “answer the question you want asked, and are prepared to answer, not the question that was asked.” It made me squeamish, because while it does keep people on message, it is evasive. Only a select few were talented enough to answer in that manner, stay on message, and only later (much later if ever) did people come around to “…hey…wait a minute. He/she didn't answer the question.” The rest just look like they didn't understand the question, which in my opinion is far worse.

    I too, wish people–from politicians on down–would just answer the question. Whether this becomes a trend…well…we'll see…

    Jen

    • Hey Jen,

      It all boils down to honesty. If you can't answer the question, then you're hiding something. If you're hiding something, I don't trust you. If I don't trust you, then the conversation's over.

  • Excellent points Jason, as usual. I would suggest that politicians and CEO's are going to be very slow to the new media game of *actually* answering questions rather than dissembling and then launching to their platform speech. To them, it's about control and spin rather than *real* communication. The implicit suggestion there is that they seem to think that we will just blithely accept the last sentence we hear as the *truth*.

    So it's an interesting dichotomy between their not being *good* at communicating, and what they would probably argue as being an *effective* communicator. We saw the same tactic in the debates, really. Deflect and dissemble…

    Enjoyed the post! Thank you!

  • Excellent points Jason, as usual. I would suggest that politicians and CEO's are going to be very slow to the new media game of *actually* answering questions rather than dissembling and then launching to their platform speech. To them, it's about control and spin rather than *real* communication. The implicit suggestion there is that they seem to think that we will just blithely accept the last sentence we hear as the *truth*.

    So it's an interesting dichotomy between their not being *good* at communicating, and what they would probably argue as being an *effective* communicator. We saw the same tactic in the debates, really. Deflect and dissemble…

    Enjoyed the post! Thank you!

  • Excellent points Jason, as usual. I would suggest that politicians and CEO's are going to be very slow to the new media game of *actually* answering questions rather than dissembling and then launching to their platform speech. To them, it's about control and spin rather than *real* communication. The implicit suggestion there is that they seem to think that we will just blithely accept the last sentence we hear as the *truth*.

    So it's an interesting dichotomy between their not being *good* at communicating, and what they would probably argue as being an *effective* communicator. We saw the same tactic in the debates, really. Deflect and dissemble…

    Enjoyed the post! Thank you!

  • Excellent points Jason, as usual. I would suggest that politicians and CEO's are going to be very slow to the new media game of *actually* answering questions rather than dissembling and then launching to their platform speech. To them, it's about control and spin rather than *real* communication. The implicit suggestion there is that they seem to think that we will just blithely accept the last sentence we hear as the *truth*.

    So it's an interesting dichotomy between their not being *good* at communicating, and what they would probably argue as being an *effective* communicator. We saw the same tactic in the debates, really. Deflect and dissemble…

    Enjoyed the post! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Frank. Appreciate your perspective and agree with your points.

  • If PR pros are WTFing over Hagan, they must be leaping off of very tall buildings over Palin.

  • If PR pros are WTFing over Hagan, they must be leaping off of very tall buildings over Palin.

  • If PR pros are WTFing over Hagan, they must be leaping off of very tall buildings over Palin.

  • If PR pros are WTFing over Hagan, they must be leaping off of very tall buildings over Palin.

    • Hey Wes. Unfortunatley, PR pros aren't WTF-ing over Hagan, just me. Most PR pros probably listened to the interview and said, “She did a good job of sticking to her talking points.” My reaction was, “She's a freakin' inanimate object.” Guess that's why I'm not getting any big PR job offers. Heh.

  • Along these lines, it has been so disheartening to me, how 'human' McCain and especially, Palin, have become AFTER the election! Hello?

    It's like they morphed into these different people – real people.

  • Along these lines, it has been so disheartening to me, how 'human' McCain and especially, Palin, have become AFTER the election! Hello?

    It's like they morphed into these different people – real people.

  • Along these lines, it has been so disheartening to me, how 'human' McCain and especially, Palin, have become AFTER the election! Hello?

    It's like they morphed into these different people – real people.

  • Along these lines, it has been so disheartening to me, how 'human' McCain and especially, Palin, have become AFTER the election! Hello?

    It's like they morphed into these different people – real people.

    • Everyone looks more human when they're dusting themselves off. If only they'd done a better job of it before the election, it might have been different.

      Thanks for stopping by again, Lisa.

  • This election will go down in history as the tipping point for wholesale bias and consumer ignorance. I also submit that the MSM has had it with the public that *is* informed. See “United or Divided, who can tell anymore? http://tinyurl.com/6k9mfb

    This next presidency is going to be tumultuous, as all parties involved attempt to regain control of their messages and brands, not realizing that it does not belong to them anymore.

  • This election will go down in history as the tipping point for wholesale bias and consumer ignorance. I also submit that the MSM has had it with the public that *is* informed. See “United or Divided, who can tell anymore? http://tinyurl.com/6k9mfb

    This next presidency is going to be tumultuous, as all parties involved attempt to regain control of their messages and brands, not realizing that it does not belong to them anymore.

  • This election will go down in history as the tipping point for wholesale bias and consumer ignorance. I also submit that the MSM has had it with the public that *is* informed. See “United or Divided, who can tell anymore? http://tinyurl.com/6k9mfb

    This next presidency is going to be tumultuous, as all parties involved attempt to regain control of their messages and brands, not realizing that it does not belong to them anymore.

  • GREAT points. To me, your post is summed up in the following sentence: “She didn’t answer the question.”

    People know when they are being spun a story, whether by a marketer, a politician, or a salesperson in your local shop.

    Isn't the point of an interview to be asked and answer questions??

  • GREAT points. To me, your post is summed up in the following sentence: “She didn’t answer the question.”

    People know when they are being spun a story, whether by a marketer, a politician, or a salesperson in your local shop.

    Isn't the point of an interview to be asked and answer questions??

  • GREAT points. To me, your post is summed up in the following sentence: “She didn’t answer the question.”

    People know when they are being spun a story, whether by a marketer, a politician, or a salesperson in your local shop.

    Isn't the point of an interview to be asked and answer questions??

  • GREAT points. To me, your post is summed up in the following sentence: “She didn’t answer the question.”

    People know when they are being spun a story, whether by a marketer, a politician, or a salesperson in your local shop.

    Isn't the point of an interview to be asked and answer questions??

    • It is, Katie. Just hoping that we as communications professionals can start helping spokespeople, especially politicians, understand that what made up a “skilled communicator” a few years ago no longer holds water. We want transparency, honesty and integrity in our communications now. That's what social media has given the marketplace. And it carries over off-line as well.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Well, Mr. Godin, or whomever you are, I think you miss the point. Instead of talking circles and not answering the question, the public and the interviewer just wanted her to answer the question. Now, if the question was unfair, I can see her saying, “You know, there's no reason to beat a dead horse. Let's move beyond the ad.” But it certainly was a valid question and all Montagne was asking was for a brief recap of what the ad said.

    I turned the interview off as well, but I suspect we both did for the same reason – because we don't like double-talk, answer avoidance. I wouldn't call Hagan a smart politician in this case. I say she was sticking to irrelevant political messaging and avoiding the question.

    If you are really Seth, thanks for stopping by my blog. If you're not, what are you hiding?

  • Well, Mr. Godin, or whomever you are, I think you miss the point. Instead of talking circles and not answering the question, the public and the interviewer just wanted her to answer the question. Now, if the question was unfair, I can see her saying, “You know, there's no reason to beat a dead horse. Let's move beyond the ad.” But it certainly was a valid question and all Montagne was asking was for a brief recap of what the ad said.

    I turned the interview off as well, but I suspect we both did for the same reason – because we don't like double-talk, answer avoidance. I wouldn't call Hagan a smart politician in this case. I say she was sticking to irrelevant political messaging and avoiding the question.

    If you are really Seth, thanks for stopping by my blog. If you're not, what are you hiding?

  • Well, Mr. Godin, or whomever you are, I think you miss the point. Instead of talking circles and not answering the question, the public and the interviewer just wanted her to answer the question. Now, if the question was unfair, I can see her saying, “You know, there's no reason to beat a dead horse. Let's move beyond the ad.” But it certainly was a valid question and all Montagne was asking was for a brief recap of what the ad said.

    I turned the interview off as well, but I suspect we both did for the same reason – because we don't like double-talk, answer avoidance. I wouldn't call Hagan a smart politician in this case. I say she was sticking to irrelevant political messaging and avoiding the question.

    If you are really Seth, thanks for stopping by my blog. If you're not, what are you hiding?

  • Agreed and thanks, Sarah.

  • Agreed and thanks, Sarah.

  • Agreed and thanks, Sarah.

  • Sorry to disagree, but just because someone asks a question doesn't mean you need to answer it. There was no upside in Kay demonizing the defeated, humiliaited and shamed Liddy Dole. Couldn't help her one bit to do so.

    So what if no one listened? Rope a dope is a totally valid strategy in this case. The media loves x vs. y controversy, but that doesn't make good government and smart politicians and ceos just avoid it.

    I heard the same interview and once I realized what Kay was doing, I just turned it off. Which is exactly what she wanted me to do, because the dialogue wasn't helping her constituents.

  • Sorry to disagree, but just because someone asks a question doesn't mean you need to answer it. There was no upside in Kay demonizing the defeated, humiliaited and shamed Liddy Dole. Couldn't help her one bit to do so.

    So what if no one listened? Rope a dope is a totally valid strategy in this case. The media loves x vs. y controversy, but that doesn't make good government and smart politicians and ceos just avoid it.

    I heard the same interview and once I realized what Kay was doing, I just turned it off. Which is exactly what she wanted me to do, because the dialogue wasn't helping her constituents.

  • Sorry to disagree, but just because someone asks a question doesn't mean you need to answer it. There was no upside in Kay demonizing the defeated, humiliaited and shamed Liddy Dole. Couldn't help her one bit to do so.

    So what if no one listened? Rope a dope is a totally valid strategy in this case. The media loves x vs. y controversy, but that doesn't make good government and smart politicians and ceos just avoid it.

    I heard the same interview and once I realized what Kay was doing, I just turned it off. Which is exactly what she wanted me to do, because the dialogue wasn't helping her constituents.

  • Sorry to disagree, but just because someone asks a question doesn't mean you need to answer it. There was no upside in Kay demonizing the defeated, humiliaited and shamed Liddy Dole. Couldn't help her one bit to do so.

    So what if no one listened? Rope a dope is a totally valid strategy in this case. The media loves x vs. y controversy, but that doesn't make good government and smart politicians and ceos just avoid it.

    I heard the same interview and once I realized what Kay was doing, I just turned it off. Which is exactly what she wanted me to do, because the dialogue wasn't helping her constituents.

    • Well, Mr. Godin, or whomever you are, I think you miss the point. Instead of talking circles and not answering the question, the public and the interviewer just wanted her to answer the question. Now, if the question was unfair, I can see her saying, “You know, there's no reason to beat a dead horse. Let's move beyond the ad.” But it certainly was a valid question and all Montagne was asking was for a brief recap of what the ad said.

      I turned the interview off as well, but I suspect we both did for the same reason – because we don't like double-talk, answer avoidance. I wouldn't call Hagan a smart politician in this case. I say she was sticking to irrelevant political messaging and avoiding the question.

      If you are really Seth, thanks for stopping by my blog. If you're not, what are you hiding?

      • seth godin

        Proof! (sorry for the typo)

  • merrycricket

    Thank you for saying this. I have been reading quite a bit since the election to see who is really catching on to the message that was sent during this last election. Many are not getting it still. I am amazed at how the Republican Party is spinning it's wheels looking around for people to blame for their losses and still not figuring it out. No real mention of using social media and on line tools to open dialogue or making a commitment to listen.

    As to Kay Hagan's win, there were two things that contributed to it. One, the number of Democrats on line sharing the story about the attack ads and two, the public's disgust with this type of tactic over all. We are all tired of this and somewhat insulted that any politician running for office would believe that we are that easily manipulated into being polarized.

  • merrycricket

    Thank you for saying this. I have been reading quite a bit since the election to see who is really catching on to the message that was sent during this last election. Many are not getting it still. I am amazed at how the Republican Party is spinning it's wheels looking around for people to blame for their losses and still not figuring it out. No real mention of using social media and on line tools to open dialogue or making a commitment to listen.

    As to Kay Hagan's win, there were two things that contributed to it. One, the number of Democrats on line sharing the story about the attack ads and two, the public's disgust with this type of tactic over all. We are all tired of this and somewhat insulted that any politician running for office would believe that we are that easily manipulated into being polarized.

  • merrycricket

    Thank you for saying this. I have been reading quite a bit since the election to see who is really catching on to the message that was sent during this last election. Many are not getting it still. I am amazed at how the Republican Party is spinning it's wheels looking around for people to blame for their losses and still not figuring it out. No real mention of using social media and on line tools to open dialogue or making a commitment to listen.

    As to Kay Hagan's win, there were two things that contributed to it. One, the number of Democrats on line sharing the story about the attack ads and two, the public's disgust with this type of tactic over all. We are all tired of this and somewhat insulted that any politician running for office would believe that we are that easily manipulated into being polarized.

  • merrycricket

    Thank you for saying this. I have been reading quite a bit since the election to see who is really catching on to the message that was sent during this last election. Many are not getting it still. I am amazed at how the Republican Party is spinning it's wheels looking around for people to blame for their losses and still not figuring it out. No real mention of using social media and on line tools to open dialogue or making a commitment to listen.

    As to Kay Hagan's win, there were two things that contributed to it. One, the number of Democrats on line sharing the story about the attack ads and two, the public's disgust with this type of tactic over all. We are all tired of this and somewhat insulted that any politician running for office would believe that we are that easily manipulated into being polarized.

    • This election will go down in history as the tipping point for wholesale bias and consumer ignorance. I also submit that the MSM has had it with the public that *is* informed. See “United or Divided, who can tell anymore? http://tinyurl.com/6k9mfb

      This next presidency is going to be tumultuous, as all parties involved attempt to regain control of their messages and brands, not realizing that it does not belong to them anymore.

  • Great article and good points. I think that people in general are so tired of hearing walking advertisements and one way communication. It doesn't work in social media or in any type of situation. It's too bad that some politicians/businesses need to clear out their ears to really hear what people are saying.

  • Great article and good points. I think that people in general are so tired of hearing walking advertisements and one way communication. It doesn't work in social media or in any type of situation. It's too bad that some politicians/businesses need to clear out their ears to really hear what people are saying.

  • Great article and good points. I think that people in general are so tired of hearing walking advertisements and one way communication. It doesn't work in social media or in any type of situation. It's too bad that some politicians/businesses need to clear out their ears to really hear what people are saying.

  • Great article and good points. I think that people in general are so tired of hearing walking advertisements and one way communication. It doesn't work in social media or in any type of situation. It's too bad that some politicians/businesses need to clear out their ears to really hear what people are saying.