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Common Decency and Media

  August 10, 2017

What ever happened to common decency—on social media, traditional media and in real life?

CNN has parted ways with political commentator Jeffrey Lord.  Management had no choice after Lord tweeted, “Sieg Heil”—aimed at a liberal activist.  Lord is old enough to know just how offensive that is.  He is trying to spin it, but he crossed a line and I support CNN’s decision.

CNN certainly needs pro-Trump commentators to help balance its coverage. But I hope they choose a replacement who can really add to the conversation—discussing the issues without vitriol.

I wonder if Sean Spicer is being considered as a replacement for Lord.  He ruffled traditional media feathers from the White House podium, but he still may be a good fit here.

Another indecent utterance to make news this week came from GOP Senator Ron Johnson.  During a radio interview, he implied that Senator John McCain’s brain tumor may have impacted McCain’s healthcare vote.  Talk about insensitive.  He is trying to walk back his comments, but it would be refreshing it people actually thought before speaking (or tweeting).  

A third example of bad behavior this week comes from London, where a surveillance camera captured a jogger so annoyed with a pedestrian who came across his path, that he pushed her—into the path of an oncoming bus.  Thankfully the driver stopped in time and passengers got out and helped her.  The jogger was later arrested.  The jogger has his defenders on social media who believe the video shows the woman trying to trip him.  I don’t see it that way.  

In our media training sessions, we teach clients how to stay on message, even when a reporter is doing his/her best to throw them off.   We also stress the importance of consistent messaging across all media platforms.  It doesn't do much good to ace a TV interview, if you post something on social media that damages your reputation or brand. 

What we cannot teach is common decency.   We all should have learned that as children and practice it as adults.   

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