A Politician’s Lonely, Lonely Press Conference
Unless you live in Canada, you’ve probably never heard of Tim Hudak. He’s a local politician and the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
Last week, he gave a press conference. He did a great job. He was perfectly on message, as noted by the local paper, The London Free Press:
“Making it clear where he’s focusing his message in a four-minute speech outside a transformer station, he mentioned ‘families’ 11 times – Hudak repeated his plan to make the meters optional for homeowners.”
So far, so good. Only one problem. No one showed up to his press conference.
As the camera pans the “crowd,” you can see only a few members of the press – but no “real” people. You can watch the amusing video here.
Although this may seem like a gaffe, I actually give Mr. Hudak enormous credit. Other than the brief shot of the non-existent crowd (which, I’m guessing, most stations didn’t show), his optics were perfect. He delivered the speech confidently, as if speaking to a much larger audience. He even looked to his right and left, giving viewers the impression that people were actually standing there.
In so doing, he never let television viewers in on the secret that nobody else was there.
You might wonder if there’s a slight deception in his performance, but I’d argue there wasn’t. After all, his primary audience isn’t reporters, but his constituents. The format of sound bite television allowed Hudak to reach them with the exact message he hoped to convey, and he wisely took that opportunity.
Yes, his advance staff should probably do a better job of getting a few people to show up to his press events. But Mr. Hudak handled this potentially embarrassing situation like a true master.
A grateful hat tip to reader Bob LeDrew for passing this clip along.
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