Wednesday, September 23, 2009
A View From the Phlipside
These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown
My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside
So let's take a minute to consider the fine art of the public apology. In this day and age doing right means using the media properly. What amazes me is the number of high profile people who presumably have people to advise them on the subject who still get it wrong.
Our first case is South Caroline Congressman Joe Wilson. Wilson of course interrupted the President's speech before the joint houses of Congress. That's really bad form in so many ways. I have to give Wilson credit for heading in the right direction right off the bat. Calling to apologize to the White House was the right thing to do. Unfortunately he then began to back slide by tap dancing and hedging on his apology in the next several days. That's bad because it just makes you look insincere and wishy washy. You should apologize immediately and to everyone (another slip for the Congress man in my opinion), then shut up for a day or so before coming back out to hit your talking points. We all know he's going back to them and that's fine. It's all about flow and timing.
At the other end we have Tennis star Serena Williams. Serena went ballistic over an officials call at the US Open Tennis Tourney. Really over the top stuff, clearly public apology time. Serena did it backwards from the Congressman. Her early attempts were awful and amounted to a little child's apology "I'm sorry the official was such a doody brains". She finally arrived at the right point, made a good confession and added a nice light touch by saying she'd like to give the official a big hug. Just a note here - that kind of line is great if you're a woman, it's a total non starter for a man.
The art of the public apology is really simple which is why I'm astounded it gets done so poorly, so often. Find the media, stand up straight, look the audience straight in the eye, accept responsibility and apologize. Don't explain, don't try and drag other things in, just apologize to everyone right off the bat. Then show you're repentant by dropping off the radar for about two days. Then pop back up explaining that you've learned from this experience and move on. Easy.
If you're waiting for a Kanye West reference here I don't have much to work with on that subject. A public apology can only overcome so much. For example it can not help you at all if you insist on being an idiot.
Call that the view from the Phlipside