Archives for September 2015

A Condescending Exit

The Negative Inference. That’s what Oscar-winning actor Robert DeNiro objected to in a recent interview, promoting his new comedy, The Intern.

With repeated negative inferences to Mr. De Niro, the interviewer exacerbated the tension, hoping to get more of a response than the actor’s trademark monosyllabic replies. And she did!


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It’s a technique reporters and interviewers often use to bait or get a rise out of a subject. Mr. DeNiro didn’t take the bait, he just walked out.

But not every interview subject is the septuagenarian Oscar-winning actor, Robert DeNiro who doesn’t need The Radio Times’ for publicity. So learning how to handle this media technique is crucial.

Simply, deflect the negative (without repeating it) and bridge to the positive.

When Mr. De Niro characterized the reporter’s questions as negative inference, she replied, “Wait, but I asked that question to establish how it is you manage not to be on autopilot.”
“I’m not doing this, darling,” Mr. De Niro concluded. In response, Radio Times’ journalist, Emma Brockes pouted, “I think you’re very condescending.”



Republicans as Terrorists?

With the ninety-fifth anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, Hillary Clinton addressed the subject of women’s equality, by comparing her Republican opponents to terrorists.

Ms. Clinton said, “Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States. Yet they espouse out of date, out of touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward, we are not going back.”

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


With such loaded language, Ms. Clinton diverted attention away from her views and onto her opponents. Jeb Bush later responded on Twitter by posting, “@HillaryClinton compares pro-life Americans to terrorists, but defends despicable Planned Parenthood treatment of unborn? Her priorities are totally wrong.”

While Ms. Clinton’s end goal of featuring herself as a progressive woman candidate for president was obvious, her execution was erroneous.  She could have focused on women’s rights without taking such a harsh and distracting jab at Republicans, which became the outrageous headline.

In both presentation skills and media training at READY FOR MEDIA, we advise clients to avoid loaded and negative words which can distract an audience and detract from your message.