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A new Occupational Health Hazard
On the back of Rainchild's recent question, would it not be incumbent on governments, to warn politicians, of the potential of developing Foot in Mouth Syndrome? This condition frequently occurs when interacting with the Media. The frequency of incidents, would suggest that this condition, is a recognisable Occupational Hazard.
asked in politics, occupational hazard, Health and safety



siasl74 answers:

I believe the true source of the outbreak to be the parliament canteen - they all suffer from it at some point.

Or maybe it's a qualification required for the job?


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duffield1 answers:

As someone who trains people on how to talk to the media, I think there are two issues here: the politicians who say unwise things when being quizzed by a journalist, either live or in an interview setting, and those who commit unwise words to paper.

When being quizzed by a journalist in a live setting, it is a real, learned skill not to put your foot in your mouth at some point - sometimes the mouth does genuinely work faster than the brain, but it is very difficult to retract something you've just said. Your natural instinct is to distance yourself from your comment as quickly as possible, rather than revise your previous words, but in a world where comments are recorded and documented, this is probably not the best approach as they will probably come back to bite you (or to beat you) at some point in the future. I suspect that the relatively media unsavvy financial peer quoted yesterday as saying she could see green shoots is precisely in this situation - a slip that has been blown up out of all proportion.

Sadly, the best technique for avoiding this is a bit Prescottesque - never actually answer the question you have been asked, and if the interviewer starts to interrupt to actually remind you of the question they wanted to know the answer to, philibuster for some time about how the interviewer will never get the answer to your question if he keeps interrupting, and you were just getting to his point, but you need to set the scene first... and then just keep talking until the interviewer runs out of time. And if he asks the question again, insist that you have answered it already, and don't have time to go through it all again.

However, there is no excuse in written text, as in the dyslexia case, also from yeterday. You have chance to edit it and, if necessary, revise it afterwards if you think that what you have written is open to mis-interpretation.


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robinsamuels answers:

I have to say, the only way for anyone to avoid this highly contagious disease these days is not to talk to the press at all.

Anything said can and will be taken out of context.


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