The Washington Post asked several PR pros to offer their perspectives on President Obama’s “punch drunk” moment on 60 Minutes Sunday. The most curious response came from Rich Masters of Qorvis Communications:
“The interview was nearly 30 minutes long and the ‘punch drunk’ segment lasted about 30 seconds, I think it’s ridiculous that 30 seconds would come to define an entire interview.
As we all know, the purpose of a sound bite is to make a single statement define a much broader conversation. Sometimes in politics those sound bites work for you (think Lloyd Bentsen’s “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” or Ronald Reagan’s “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience”) ands sometimes they work against you (Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” or Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman … Ms. Lewinsky”). But for a PR person to argue that a sound bite – intended or otherwise – unfairly defines a conversation is naive or duplicitous.