“House of Cards” Claire Underwood’s Sound bite Sinks Her United Nations Nomination | Media Training
If you are a political/media junkie, there is no better show than “House of Cards” on Netflix (Unless you count the 1990 British version-also a must-see). In Season three, just released on Friday, The President’s wife, Claire Underwood, is nominated to be the US Ambassador to the United Nations.
During her confirmation hearing, she gets into a debate with an opposition-party Senator. In the heat of the moment, she said “the military is not relevant.” Of course she meant that the military was not relevant to a particular diplomatic solution in a specific country. But the sound bite was “The military is not relevant.”
Thus, Underwood gave ammunition to her political opponents to cast her as anti-military and attacking the military. The sound bite of “The military is not relevant” drove the news cycle, and Underwood was quickly voted down by senators who didn’t want to seem like they were supporting someone who was anti -military.
The lesson here? Underwood could have avoided this misstep by rehearsing her answers to tough questions on video, and then analyzing each answer for how they could be twisted out of context. Whether you are a major political nominee or a CEO under siege, you can never complain about being quoted out of context to make you look bad. If you don’t want to be quoted looking foolish, then practice giving answers that only make you look good and advance your message, no matter how they are edited out of context.
Underwood should have said this in her Senate hearing “What will really drive a solution toward peace there is for…”
And hey, if you are a producer for the House of Cards, please call me if you need a cameo for a real media trainer to rehearse Claire or Frank Underwood during season four. You can reach TJ Walker’s Hollywood agent by calling 212.764.4955 and asking for TJ Walker.