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Make a Statement

Ever see newspaper, TV or radio reporters covering an event or looking for footage for the evening news?  You may see them outside of city council meetings, candidate debates, a Congressman's town hall meeting, at the scene of anything bad, or just on busy downtown streets; and they often are looking for "man-in-the-street" reactions regarding the event or some issue in the news.  When you see them interviewing people on the street, ask them if they would like your comments too.  Take advantage of the opportunity to give the conservative view!  Note however that they are only looking for reactions to that specific event or issue, not your views on other topics, and here's the vital part:

Particularly on controversial issues, you must be very careful how you say what you want to say, because an editor with an agenda can make it sound like you are on the liberal side.

Bad Example: Reporter on the scene: "Tell us why you are against the mayor's city tax hike--aren't you for a balanced budget?" (leading question) 
Your answer: "Yes, I agree we must have a balanced budget; but the mayor must cut spending, not raise our taxes."
What goes on the air: Anchorman: "At today's city council meeting, several local citizens expressed support for the mayor's tax increase, understanding how important it is to balance the budget and protect vital services:"  You: "Yes, I agree we must have a balanced budget."

See, it was easy for them to cut out the most important part; they used just part of what you said, and they put your "answer" alongside the anchorman's opposite statement--and everyone watching thinks you're supporting the tax hike!  This actually happens, whether on controversial issues, issues where they want to "create" artificial support for their liberal agenda; to make conservative candidates "appear" to say the wrong thing; or to make something decent and honorable appear to be controversial.

This is one of the dangers in talking to the liberal media, so we offer this section to give you the concept of how to make an "un-editable" statement that can't be taken out of context.  Practice it some, it's a good skill to have!

Better Example--Your answer: "The mayor's outrageous tax and budget hike must be cut, not the take-home pay of our residents." (Don't say another word, that's a good "sound bite".)

Note that there's no way to cut it to make it sound like you are on the liberal side.  They'll either use it as-is or not at all--and they may well use it to present "the other side".

If you only answer the reporter's question (whether it's a leading question or not), and/or give a sentence or even part of a sentence which they can easily use out of context, you must expect that they will.  And they won't ask your permission.  Make your statement short, punchy and concise; and never say things like "I agree", "that's true", or other phrases which make for easy out-of-context editing.  Long statements offer the danger that somewhere in it they will find a couple phrases or a sentence which they can twist to their agenda.  One sentence is best!  The more questions you answer, the greater the risk; so say one good, short statement, then decline any encouragement to ramble on.  If you realize you are saying a sentence or phrase that can be easily taken out of context, quickly say a swear word without any pause so they won't be able to use that sentence, and you can then re-start and say it better.

Don't get trapped into only the extremes. Reporters may ask loaded questions like "Well, if you aren't for amnesty then you're for rounding up millions of illegals and deporting them all, right?"  They won't include their question on air, so don't take the bait but just state your case clearly; for example: "We are calling for the effective solution of building a border fence to stop illegals and drug smugglers."

Restate the Question: Your comment will be easier for the media to use if you restate the question or repeat the name/subject being discussed.  If asked "What's your opinion about Joe Smith who is running for city council?", don't just answer "He is a liberal who will raise our taxes," but restate the name and office: "Joe Smith is a liberal who will raise our taxes if elected to the city council."  This will leave no question to whom or what your comments refer and makes the editor's job easier.  If your comments are easier for an editor to fit into a story because they are complete and need no introduction, that improves their chance of using your comments and also makes it tougher for them to use your comments out of context.

Practice: Which statement could an editor take out of context, and how might it end up sounding on the air?
"We're standing here at the scene of today's tragic drive-by second-hand-smoke catastrophe, where one reckless man's cigarette hanging out of his car window exposed over 30 school children--perhaps your own children--to a lifetime cut short by deadly carcinogens while they innocently waited for the school bus. "We ask: what can be done to save our children from another atrocity like this?"
Statement A: "You mean passing a law against smoking in cars? That's insane! But second-hand smoke isn't dangerous, everyone smoked when I grew up and we're all healthy. We must get the liberal curriculum out of our schools; now that is something I would support to help our school children."
Statement B: "The real danger to our children is the liberal curriculum in our schools which teaches promiscuity but not reading or morals."

The same principles would hold true if you are holding a news conference or talking to a reporter.

Note the usefulness of statements like: "The real danger..." or "What you are asking is..."  Using this sort of transition makes it easy to state YOUR point when asked a question where they are trying to get you to give an answer to fit their agenda, or they are trying to make you look extremist.

You could have a friend video you being interviewed; a cell phone camera would work fine for the purpose. Then if they edit to twist your statement, you can make a short video showing the real interview and the butchered version. Turn the tables on the media!

The liberal media's history of taking comments out of context to "fit" their agenda is just one reason they criticize talk radio, blogs and the internet: They can't stand it when everyone gets to say what they want without any editing, tampering or filtering!

The Conservative Caucus is a public policy organization, contributions to which are not tax deductible. The IRS has determined TCC to be a 501(c)(4) organization, exempt from Federal income tax. TCC can receive corporate donations.

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