Another hat tip to Mr. Holmes:
Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has compiled the ten most oft-used tactics to deflect or kill a negative story. Here are three of them, but they’re all worth reading:
1. “It’s Old News”
News reporters hate to hear that their story is “old news.” It makes them want to drop the subject like a hot potato. So when a news reporter calls you about a potentially negative story — whatever it is — just say “it’s old news” even if it’s not….
7. The Cinch Connection
Hire away prominent, well-connected politicians to handle your spin. Hire former network news producers who are still connected to high-ranking news executives to spin and intercept negative stories. Hire “independent” doctors as speakers and consultants, then get them to contact the news reporter to give “independent” opinions on the issue. Finance an “independent” non-profit, a blogger or an academic group and get them to take your viewpoint….
9. Fatigue Factor
Send letters of objection to the news reporter and his bosses before the story airs, even though you have no idea what the story is going to say, and even if you’ve declined an interview and the opportunity to provide information for the story. Save your most complex or outrageous objection — one that would take at least a few hours for the news organization to refute — and send it to the news executives right before air time in hopes of scaring them off from the story. Once the story does air, send more objections and be sure the “independent” non-profits, bloggers and academics pick up on it. A news organization that is not confident and committed may get tired of the trouble and sniff elsewhere next time.
Back to the drawing board everybody!