It’s that time again—time for the five worst media disasters caught on video this month.
April’s victims include a sleepy vice president, a clueless politician, and one two three ridiculous CEOs. Here we go, in descending order:
5. Joe Biden nods off—during an important speech.
During arguably the most important speech President Obama has given on entitlement reform, Vice President Joe Biden appeared to fall asleep. As a result, many headlines about Obama’s speech included mention of Biden’s ill-timed snooze, once again robbing the president of his ideal headline.
It’s not the first time Biden has done that—it happened during the signing ceremony for health care reform
, as well.
4. Sen. Jon Kyl’s offers lame excuse.
Anyone can get a statistic wrong. So, when Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) mistakenly said that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services were abortion-related (it’s actually 3 percent), all he had to do is apologize.
Instead, his office claimed that the senator’s remark was “not meant as a factual statement”—and that’s the moment this became a much, much bigger story
3. Mike Lazaridis, founder of Research In Motion, gets peeved.
As Sam Donaldson once said, “The questions don’t do the damage, only the answers do.”
During a BBC interview, the founder of RIM—maker of the BlackBerry—abruptly cut off an interview when he didn’t like a question. His whining and complaining looked more like that of a cranky grade-schooler than a CEO.
He should have been able to answer these questions with ease, but he instead made the story bigger with his irritated responses.
2. Dick Fleming, St. Louis Chamber of Commerce head, hides behind milk crates.
As media-avoidance strategies go, this one’s a beaut. Instead of speaking with the reporter about his salary, Dick Fleming, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA
), decided to seek refuge in the back hallway of a hotel near a stack of milk crates. The full story is here
1. Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy.com, brutally kills an elephant—and brags about it online.
The founder of GoDaddy.com released a video of himself killing an elephant during a recent trip to Africa. He posed over the dead elephant’s carcass with a self-satisfied grin, set the video’s soundtrack to AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” and blamed PETA for the fallout.
Wait, there’s more. He threatened to sue bloggers who showed the video—even though he originally released the video himself. And he never did apologize, instead insisting he would murder elephants again.
As a result of his bad behavior, Mr. Parsons lost thousands of customers, including me
The original video is no longer available, due to Parsons’ copyright claim. This news clip will give you a good summary, although the original was far more graphic.
For a bonus gaffe, visit the author’s blog, Mr. Media Training
Brad Phillips’ firm, Phillips Media Relations, specializes in media and presentation training.