JEB Bush usually comes across as smart and savvy in news media interviews. But he made an amateur’s blunder the other day when speaking with Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Channel.
Here was the exchange.
“Knowing what we know now (about Iraq), would you have authorized the invasion?” Ms. Kelly asked.
“I would’ve,” Mr. Bush said, “and so would’ve Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would’ve almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”
As several commentators, like Jon Stewart, have pointed out, this is like answering the question “Knowing what we know now, would you have booked voyage on the Titanic?” and answering “yes.”
Bush has now acknowledged he didn’t understand the question properly.
Clearly, his didn’t listen carefully. Bush heard the word “Iraq” and went into a canned, defensive response. Unfortunately, when paired with the actual question, his answer sounded ridiculous to most.
Part of the challenge with being a true master of the media is that you have to be totally in the moment during an interview. You have to give 100% of your attention to listening to the questions in real time. Then and only then can you figure out how to answer in your own positive context and in a way that is satisfying to the journalist and audience as well.
In defense of Bush, it’s still early in the campaign and there is plenty of time to improve. Of course, as Sarah Palin “I read all of them (all newspapers)” has shown, it only takes one really bad interview to destroy an entire political career.
TJ Walker produces online and in-person media training workshops. More here. https://www.mediatrainingworldwide.com/online-training.html