When one of the world’s most respected newspaper titles labels a politician as someone “once considered a rising star” then something has gone badly wrong. That is what happened to American politician Michael G. Grimm this week in the New York Times after an extraordinary performance in front of a news camera.
Grimm, a United States Congressman, was appearing on a local news network to give his view on the State of the Union speech delivered by President Obama minutes before. Grimm’s performance in critiquing the President’s speech may well have been fine or even brilliant - that part has been now been forgotten. What will be remembered however is how the classic ‘one last question’ from the journalist was enough to send Grimm off the rails.
After stating on camera that he was “not going to talk about anything off topic” he stormed out of shot with the camera still running. When the journalist explained what it was that Grimm had refused to discuss Grimm returned and threatened the journalist with physical violence saying he would “break him in half. Like a boy”.
It is clear from what happened that instead of carefully dealing with the one last question about his campaign finances using a satisfy and steer technique (satisfying the viewers at home that you have dealt with the question before steering your answer back to a topic you are comfortable on) Grimm lost his temper and undermined his own credibility.
If all that wasn’t bad enough Grimm then issued a non-apologetic apology saying "I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favour. I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”
By then the national news networks had picked up the story and the video was being passed around on social networks all because Grimm wasn’t ready for that ‘one last question’. He could be winning this award for his initial poor performance or for his subsequent botched apology. Either way Michael G. Grimm is my Mis-Communicator of the Week.