Never Talk to the Media Unless…
A normal person should never talk to the media because whatever they write, fairly or unfairly, will most likely be the first result in a Google search for you. Thus I’ve said for years that you should never talk to the media. Like most of my writing, this rule is an extreme pushback against conventional wisdom, which holds that talking to the media would be a great experience for you.
Now a lot of people on the right will never talk to the media, and that’s cool, but my own position has changed over the years.
Here is why I started talking to the media after a lengthy blackout period.
I bitch about no-platform policies. An outright refusal to talk to every reporter is another form of no-platforming. Some of these people are actually decent human beings.
Our country is losing its collective mind. Talking to each other keeps us farther away from a civil war. If someone shot up a newspaper office, I would have a huge problem with this! There are in people in there who are good people. We shouldn’t use rhetoric that incites media violence, that’s what the SPLC does when it creates a “hate list,” which Floyd Lee Corkins used before going on a mass shooting.
“The media” is made up of reporters, who are people. A conversation with them is an opportunity to persuade them that your worldview is correct and good. Likewise their interviews and questions are their effort to persuade you that they are correct. We call this being human beings.
People are people, and one day you may need some media coverage. If you’ve insulted journalists for the better part of a year, who is going to tell the story of you being screwed over, regardless of how just your claim is?
Talking to the media is generally overrated once you have the “cool guy” stuff. I’ve been profiled in all the big magazines and papers and been on 60 minutes in front of over 15 million people. That’s sort of fun to be able to say at parties, but it doesn’t sell books. (Podcasts sell books, blog posts sell books, media coverage gets you more media coverage.)
But I’ve met some otherwise people decent people. It’s not really true that most people in media are horrible. Most are working stiffs like you and me, chasing the dragon of success.
That said, there’s no need to dance like a puppet for the media. One photojournalist for a nationwide publication wanted me to pose for a picture making an angry face. I declined, he was annoyed, but whatever. (He wanted a picture of me being angry to show the world what an angry guy I am, but that’s not the truth. I’m easy going unless provoked.)
Other times media people have tried to characterize my views unfairly, and I correct them rather than go along with it. For example, they’ll say, “You have been described as [something bad],” and I stop right there and address the lies rather than say, “Yes.” Because if the person wants to set me up, he’ll be able to say, “Cernovich admits he has often been described as [something bad].”
Thus if a reporter said, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has described you as [something bad],” I wouldn’t affirm their assertion. My answer would be, “The SPLC has inspired mass shooters. They are evil. I disavow them.” If the reporter pushes back, I say, “Are you aware the SPLC incited Floyd Lee Corkins into shooting up the Family Research Council? How can you defend this. Do you disavow this mass shooting?”
Remember these Rules when talking to the media.
Journalists aren’t your PR agents. This has several implications. The biggest implication is that, regardless of how nice or polite they are, their job isn’t to do you any favors. Their job is to write their story.
As a corollary to the above, don’t get butt hurt by a hit pieces. They have the right to write whatever they want, as long as it’s true. And in any event, the “truth” about you is socially constructed. Their truth about you will differ about your mom’s or spouse’s truth about you. Unless we’re talking physics, there is no “objective truth,” and that’s especially true when describing people.
Your job is to tell the truth about whatever you’re talking out, and this means using rhetoric and persuasion to craft a compelling narrative. If you’ve never had a successful sales career, you probably aren’t equipped to talk to journalists. (99% of people should not talk to the media.)
Journalists do this for a living, they are pros and you are not. Everyone who walks onto a car lot is convinced he or she is going to get a great deal. This is a lie we tell ourselves to preserve our egos. You’ll rarely get the best of a trained reporter, which is why you should think thrice before agreeing to a media interview.
Journalists rarely fabricate facts. Most media companies are run by suits with legal departments who saw what happened to Gawker. It’s a myth that most journalism is outright fabrication.
99% of the time what you read in the papers is spin.
They aren’t going to lie about what you said, but they may talk to you for three hours to get one sentence they can use against you. Generally speaking you should keep interviews short, and preferably in writing.
Record your interviews. They are recording. You should be recording, too. Be sure to check Can We Tape? for applicable state law.
That said, I would never be alone with an SJW reporter. SJWs are a special class of people who are disturbed and will imagine events that didn’t happen. As a rule, it’s best to avoid Mic, The Bustle, and any Gawker or former-Gawker affiliated websites. If you speak to someone from an SJW-run outlet, have a witness with you at all times. You may be falsely accused of a crime, and at best, they will willfully misrepresent you words and quote you out of context. That Google hit for your name will show up forever to have a whopping 5,000 page views you got at Mic. Stupid!
Do some homework on the reporter you’re going to meet. Read a few of her articles. If you don’t like the vibe, you won’t like her. It also helps to dig up some dirt about the journalist or the journalist’s network. If they want to play dirty, be sure to have your own cards to deal from the bottom of the deck.
Journalists have a right to ask you any question, you have the right to provide any answer to their questions. You have the right to ask questions.
Journalists like to say, “That’s not the question I asked.” Remind them, YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME. If they don’t like your answer, they can discontinue the interview. No one is a slave here, and no one is “in charge.” You can walk away and they can walk away.
The only rule that matters with hit pieces.
If you’re smashed in the head, smile and show strength. Ten years ago, the Megyn Kelly special on Alex Jones would have devastating. Alex let Kelly’s crew put him under a heat lamp, which caused his forehead to sweat profusely. He let her belabor her points and drag him into the weeds. But that’s not what people remember.
People remember Alex laughing in studio and popping a bottle of champaign, as he toasted his win over Megyn Kelly.
The only mistakes you can make when hit by the media are to apologize and hide. Live stream your reaction, smile, have fun, use satire, and even break out that nice bottle of wine (if that’s your thing) to celebrate victory.
It doesn’t matter if you feel like crawling in a hole. You can never show weakness, this says you are a victim, and no one respects a victim. As Arnold said before he became an sanctimonious cuck, “You have to remember something: Everybody pities the weak; jealousy you have to earn.”
You know your reaction to a hit piece is the right one when people are angry at you. It means you didn’t submit, you didn’t bow down, and because this is what others would do, you’ve triggered jealousy.
— — —
Mike Cernovich is a journalist, author, and filmmaker. His best-selling book Gorilla Mindset will help you prepare for media interviews and other high energy events.