CommCore Blog and News

How to Stand Your Ground — On Live TV

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D- MA, recently delivered an object lesson in how to effectively stand one’s ground in a tough live broadcast interview.

Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to defend her proposed legislation to break up the big banksWarren withstood a barrage of challenging and skeptical – even scolding – questions from several of the program’s hosts by refusing to acknowledge their unrelenting criticisms. By the end, the hosts pulled back in their aggressive challenges and complimented her on-air for her knowledge.

The lessons? We at CommCore will use this video clip as an example to our Media Training clients of how anticipation and preparation can effectively blunt reporters’ agenda in a challenging live interview. Senator Warren scored as follows:

·         She was ready with relevant facts (and just a few). She used them to blunt attacks point-by-point based on differing interpretations of those facts.

·         She wasn’t scared to scold back when scolded. “No, No, No, that is just wrong,” she interrupted several times when she felt the interviewers were misrepresenting facts or trends, and immediately corrected them.

·         She validated her liberal position by naming unexpected 3rd parties — fellow senators who are conservatives and independents — who agree with her in principle.

·         She was ready with an operative sound bite that was sure to stick: “If you don’t fight for it, the chances are zero.”

·         Senator Warren showed passion, as the reporters acknowledged admiringly on-air at the end of the interview.