A politician derides his disabled, war-veteran opponent.
A killer says his act was “God’s will.”
A journalist implies that Tea Partiers have a connection to mass murder.
Those three things can only mean one thing: It’s time for the five worst video media disasters of July.
5. Congressman questions heroism of his legless, Purple Heart-decorated opponent.
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is running for reelection, never served in the U.S. military. His opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, lost both of her legs while co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq.
So what did Walsh do? He criticized her for talking about her military service and questioned whether she was a “real
4. George Zimmerman says Trayvon Martin’s killing was “God’s plan.”
After seeing Jerry Sandusky’s painful television interview with Bob Costas, you would think that George Zimmerman’s lawyers would have thought twice before putting Trayvon Martin’s killer on television. (If you haven’t been following the case, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed African-American teenager; Zimmerman was a local “neighborhood watch” captain.)
No such luck. When asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity whether he had any regrets about the night of Martin’s killing, Zimmerman said he didn’t, adding, “I feel that it was all God’s plan.”
3. President Obama: "You didn’t build that.”
The president’s clumsy phrasing of a key line during a recent speech led to criticism from his opponent and a nasty political ad. Here’s what President Obama said:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Mitt Romney’s campaign quickly reacted with an ad featuring an outraged entrepreneur reacting to this line: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
The White House clarified the president’s remark—which echoed his “the private sector is doing fine
” quip—but in an age when badly phrased ideas
become toxic political ads, politicians (unfortunately) have no margin for error. This wouldn’t have been an issue if he had clarified the subject of his sentence more precisely, saying something such as, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build the roads and highways that lead your customers there. The government did.”
2. ABC reporter Brian Ross falsely links mass murderer to the Tea Party
Just hours after the shooting that killed 12 people in Aurora, Colo.
, ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross went on “Good Morning, America” to share something “significant” that he had learned.
Anchor George Stephanopoulos: “You found something that might be significant.”
Reporter Brian Ross: “There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo. … on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year.”
Two things: First, since when is being in the Tea Party synonymous with mass homicide? Ross seemed to be suggesting that his membership in the Tea Party was somehow revealing.
Second, he had the wrong Jim Holmes. Ross later apologized.
1. Mitt Romney’s rough start in London
Mitt Romney had hoped to establish his foreign policy bona fides
during his first international trip as the presumptive Republican nominee. Instead, he insulted his foreign hosts
when asked whether London was ready for their moment in the spotlight.
Instead of offering the diplomatic platitudes one might expect, Romney said: “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting.”
In response, the British prime minister mocked Romney’s tenure as the head of the Salt Lake City Olympics, saying: “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
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For two bonus media blunders from July, visit the Mr. Media Training blog.
Brad Phillips is the president of Phillips Media Relations, which specializes in media and presentation training. He blogs at Mr. Media Training, where a version of this story first appeared. He tweets @MrMediaTraining.