Don’t Repeat Negative Language

Dan Wardby Dan Ward

One rule of media training that we stress time and again in our Message Matrix® program is “don’t repeat negative language, even to deny it.”

The reason for that rule was illustrated today by President Obama’s answer to a question about our relationship with Russia. When asked “is this a new Cold War?” after announcing new economic sanctions, Obama responded, “No, it’s not a new Cold War. It’s a very specific issue related to Russia’s unwillingness to let Ukraine seek its own path.”

So what were the immediate headlines and tweets?

Tweets

When you repeat negative language, you give media the headlines THEY want, rather than headlines that convey a message you want to communicate.

The President had a lot of important things to say today, but many people will only hear two words.

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