Just when you think you’ve seen it all, public figures go off and commit another bunch of gaffes you never saw coming.
I have to admit that I didn’t anticipate contraception roaring back into the headlines this month, especially when it involved stale jokes straight out of 1953.
Or that a public figure would try to hit a reporter with her car.
Or that a male sports anchor thought calling a female athlete the “b-word” was a good idea.
In fact, there were so many gaffes this month, I’ve expanded the usual list from the top five to the top eight. Here you go:
8a. Jerry Sandusky speaks. Again.
Alleged Penn State
child rapist and overall creep Jerry Sandusky
delivered three minutes of rambling comments following a hearing earlier this month. It’s incomprehensible why his attorney still lets him speak, especially after throwing out gems such as, “All of a sudden, because of allegations … I can’t take my dog on my deck and throw out biscuits to him.”
8b. Even more Sandusky madness
If you thought Jerry Sandusky was the only creep in the family, try again. His wife Dottie almost ran over a reporter—on purpose—earlier in the month.
7. Rick Santorum supporter offers inexpensive contraception option
Foster Friess, a major supporter to Rick Santorum’s Super PAC, made headlines when he weighed in on the issue of contraception. “Back in my days,” he said, “they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”
Friess claimed afterwards that he was joking. Perhaps he was. Regardless, the strange comment took his favored candidate way off message, as Santorum spent days trying to fend off questions about his reaction to the comment.
6. Quarterback’s wife a bad sport
During the last drive of the Super Bowl, a couple of New England Patriots receivers dropped passes they probably should have caught. Immediately following the game, the wife of Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, was heckled by a couple of Giants fans.
Let’s just say her reply probably didn’t endear her to her husband’s teammates.
5. Sports anchor calls female race car driver a bitch
KSWB Fox5 San Diego Sports Anchor Ross Shimabuku vented against race car driver Danica Patrick during a strangely misogynistic rant. My impression after watching the video, in which he also called Patrick a pretty “girl?” Shimabuku has some issues with women.
4. Maxine Waters sees evil spirits in her house
Waters (D-CA) tore into the Republican House leadership earlier this month
at a California Democratic State Convention. Talking about House Speaker
John Boehner and Majority Whip Eric Cantor, she said:
"I saw pictures of Boehner and Cantor on our screens. Don't ever let me see again in life those Republicans in our hall on
our screens talking about anything. These are demons."
With what can only be described as an astonishing lack of
self-awareness, she went on to say that, "These are legislators who are
destroying this country, rather than bringing us together." Um, Ms. Waters?
Hate to point out that your comments may not exactly be "bringing us
3. Fox News analyst suggests raped military women should have known better
This one left my jaw
hanging. Even the host seemed shocked by analyst Liz Trotta's comments about
sexual assault in the military.
2. Mitt Romney can't help himself
It's hard to
know where to begin with Mitt Romney, who's beginning to make Joe Biden look
like a gaffe-free politician.
On their own, none of these gaffes is disastrous. But
collectively, they reinforce an image of an out-of-touch rich guy who
doesn't know how to relate to ordinary Americans. And each of these
mini-gaffes sends his campaign into damage control while taking him far away
from his intended message. In just the past four weeks, he's said:
- "I'm not concerned with the very poor."
- "I was a
severely conservative governor."
- "[I don't follow NASCAR] as
closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends that
are NASCAR team owners."
- "[My wife] Ann drives a couple of
I can't remember a credible front runner for the
presidency who couldn't get out of his own way quite this much. So it's
little wonder that Romney is having such a tough time dispensing with
challengers who should otherwise be easy to defeat. Here's the "two
Cadillacs" moment, in which he also praised Michigan's perfect tree
1. Komen Race for the Cure CEO
Nancy Brinker in Crisis Mode
Susan G. Komen founder Nancy
Brinker appeared on MSNBC after her organization cut off funding to Planned
Parenthood, allegedly because Planned Parenthood provides abortion services.
The resulting crisis was a disaster for
Komen that threatened to destroy in a matter of days the favorable
reputation it had built over decades.
appearance was a disaster. During her interview, she claimed that "the
responses we're getting are favorable," seemingly oblivious to the firestorm
around her. She edgily blamed her critics for not "bothering" to read more
about their decision. She didn't express any reassurance to her supporters
who felt betrayed by the decision, and topped off her appearance by claiming
that a key staffer had nothing to do with the defunding decision (the
staffer later admitted that she did).
In the process, Komen violated
all seven rules of crisis management.
Visit the Mr. Media Training Blog to see the 21 Most Essential Media Training Links. Brad Phillips is the author of the Mr. Media Training Blog and president of Phillips Media Relations, which specializes in media and presentation training.