Kiss my *ss!
They'll put you back in chains!
Those loaded statements can only mean one thing: It's time for this month's
worst media disasters list. And folks, this month was a doozy.
Without any further ado, here are the five worst media disasters of
5. Yahoo news editor caught on a hot mic.
Yahoo News' Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian was caught on a hot
microphone earlier this week for expressing a rather ugly view of Mitt
Speaking about Romney's decision to proceed with the Republican National
Convention in light of Hurricane Isaac making landfall, Chalian said: "They
are happy to have a party with black people drowning."
Yahoo fired him immediately afterwards.
4. Romney spokesperson tells reporters to "kiss my *ss."
Mitt Romney's overseas trip was a bit of a disaster. But the most comical
moment occurred toward the end of his trip when his traveling press
secretary, Rick Gorka, snapped at the press corps.
The reporters in this video were acting boorishly. It's not
that they didn't have a right to shout questions—in fact, Mitt Romney's
refusal to answer their questions throughout the trip necessitated it. But
their superficial questions about gaffes made them look bad.
Unfortunately, Gorka took the bait: In what has to be one of the most unintentionally contradictory statements
of the year, Gorka scolded the press by saying, "Kiss my *ss. This is a holy
site for the Polish people. Show some respect."
He was quickly sidelined by the campaign.
[Editor's note: Although this incident occurred on July 31, the fallout continued into August.
3. Vice President Biden tells crowd that Republicans will put them "back in chains."
When speaking to the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in
Danville, Va., Joe Biden used an unfortunate choice of
words that instantly triggered accusations of racism.
He told the crowd, in which many African Americans were present:
"Romney wants to let the—he said in the first hundred days,
he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain
Wall Street. They're going to put you all back in chains."
Biden denied that his comments had any racial context, but it doesn't
matter. Politicians should have learned to avoid such rhetorical traps from
Ross Perot's infamous 1992 "you people
2. Clint Eastwood hijacks Mitt Romney’s big night.
Last night, Mitt Romney accepted his party’s nomination to become the Republican candidate for President. He proceeded to deliver one of the best speeches of his political life. Unfortunately, actor Clint Eastwood—who took the stage minutes before him—stole many of the headlines Romney had earned.
Eastwood took the stage, accompanied by a bar stool. For 11 painful minutes, Eastwood proceeded to address the bar stool, as if it was President Obama. It was off-message, bizarre, and embarrassing—and the news media spent precious minutes gossiping about Eastwood instead of Romney.
This one has to be seen to be believed.
1. Senate candidate offers strange view of "legitimate rape."
In this era of endless partisan squabbling, it's refreshing to see true
bipartisanship in action. For a few days, one politician
brought opposite sides together—Republicans including Mitt Romney, Karl
Rove, and Sean Hannity were all in rare agreement with Democrats such as
President Obama, David Axelrod, and Rachel Maddow.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the kind of bipartisanship that Republican Missouri
Senate candidate Todd Akin was going for. His controversial (and
scientifically incorrect) assertions about rape caused a firestorm, with
most prominent members of his own party begging him to quit the race:
"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If
it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole
Despite the mounting pressure, he's still in the race. For now.
For two bonus disasters from August, visit the Mr. Media Relations blog.
Brad Phillips is the president of Phillips Media Relations, which specializes in media and presentation training. He tweets @MrMediaTraining.