"I'm not a liar"? Alasdair Thompson

24 June 2011
Alasdair Thompson made a number of mistakes on TV last night when defending his view that women take more time off work because of period pain. There are a number of media training lessons to learn here. 1st Mistake This was saying it on NewsTalkZB yesterday morning in the first place. There are some things you just don't say, especially if you do not have research to back them up. 2nd Mistake This was even appearing on TV last night. He was on a hiding-to-nothing, particularly because he would not withdraw the comments. He should have put his shovel away in the garage and laid low for the rest of the day. Instead of fronting, he would have been much better to have just sent in a statement regretting his comments and highlighting that he had never meant to cause offence. 3rd Mistake His approach to the reporter on Campbell Live did him no favours. He was clearly confrontational. One lesson people learn in media training is that viewers often bond with interviewers. So if guests fail to create the same bond with the interviewer, those at home turn against the guest. 4th Mistake On the Campbell Live programme, he used the words "I'm not a liar." This sounds similar to another situation where someone used the words, "I'm not a crook." I'm not trying to compare him to Richard Nixon, but using words like that can conjure up all sorts of nasty headlines or perceptions. 5th Mistake In any media training course, participants are told to never assume they are off the record. During the Campbell Live interview, there was a period where Mr Thompson presumed this. But he never made this clear, so this footage was used. It did him no favours. This should never be assumed anyway, even if he had said he was off the record.
Filed under Media Training

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Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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