February’s Five Worst Video Media Disasters

This month’s five worst video media disasters come from a troubled actor, a genocidal dictator, a politician who can’t screen his phone calls, a snarky journalist, and a (now) former dictator.

Without further ado, here they are: The five worst video media disasters of February 2011:

Number 5: Charlie Sheen’s Alex Jones Show Interview

There’s little funny about addiction, and Charlie Sheen’s dangerous spiral is sad to watch. His out-of-touch radio interview with sycophantic radio host Alex Jones led to the cancellation of his top-rated sitcom, Two and a Half Men, for the rest of the season.

During the interview, Sheen makes vaguely anti-Semitic comments about “Men”” creator Chuck Lorre, calls Alcoholics Anonymous a “bootleg cult,” and labels Thomas Jefferson a “pussy.” He tops off his tirade by threatening to “murder” those who attack his family. Here’s an excerpt:

Number Four: Hosni Mubarak’s Unintended Use of Irony

What signs can a dictator use to gauge whether his country has fallen into chaos? An unhappy populace? Massive protests? International pressure?

Okay, fine. Those signs may not be enough. But can we all agree that whip-carrying thugs beating citizens from camels on the streets of Cairo has, indeed, entered the realm of the chaotic?

Not so for (former) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. It was an almost surreal moment when he told ABC News, “If I resign now, there will be chaos.” Weeks after his departure, Egypt remains calmer than it was during the final days of his regime.

Number Three: Journalist Nir Rosen’s “Joke” About Sexual Assault

Journalist Nir Rosen, a fellow at NYU’s Center For Law and Security, stepped down under pressure earlier this month after sending a series of offensive Tweets. Shortly after CBS announced  that correspondent Lara Logan had suffered a “brutal and sustained sexual assault,” Mr. Rosen wrote the following on Twitter:

“Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson [Cooper]. Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too…jesus christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger…look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women”

Instead of shutting up, Mr. Rosen tried to defend himself by appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. It didn’t go well.

Click here to see my full analysis of this incident, “A Disturbing New Trend In Crisis PR Apologies”

Number Two: Wisconsin Governor Gets Punked

During the massive pro-union protests in Wisconsin this month, union-busting Gov. Scott Walker got prank called by a “journalist” pretending to be anti-union billionaire donor David Koch.

Gov. Walker sounded reasonable enough during the call. But the fact that he stayed on the phone with a conservative donor for 20 minutes during a major crisis – especially one in which he wasn’t taking calls from Democrats – looked bad. Perhaps the biggest failure is that his staff allowed the call to get through to the Governor at all.

Mr. Walker’s position ultimately prevailed, but this incident earned unnecessarily embarrassing headlines due to his – and his staff’s – clueless failure.

Number One: Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi Gives Defiant Speech

Standing in front of a bombed out shell of a building, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi gave a deluded speech in which he angrily read from a soft-covered book, wagged his finger, and blamed his nation’s violence on the young, saying, “They are a group that are sick, taking hallucinatory drugs…They were given drugs…We won’t lose victory from these greasy rats and cats.”

You probably won’t understand what he’s saying, but it doesn’t matter. Crazy speaks its own, universal language.

Avoid making media mistakes! Click here to see see the 21 Most Essential Media Training Links.