Forget whether or not you think Arizona State University’s decision not to give President Obama an honourary degree because he hasn’t achieved enough yet was a mistake. The real lesson to learn from the whole affair is that you should never do an interview with a journalist, even a “fake news show” journo, unless:
- You’ve given a lot of thought to the one message you want to get across
- You are sober
- You have an IQ of at least 100
It would appear from this Daily Show clip that very few people from Arizona State (they call it “the Harvard of Date Rape”, which is probably a reference to this recent case) would be able to meet conditions 2 and 3:
(In case you were wondering, no, Alexander Hamilton was not a President.)
Even people with three-digit IQs from real universities, such as my alma mater Crazy Go Nuts University, have fallen prey to this trap. I remember a student couple who complained about being featured in a “Sex on Campus” article in Macleans magazine even though they were interviewed about sex on campus (the young woman even boasted of her “European attitude towards sex”, which probably made her quite popular at the pub) and consented to being photographed together in a bed.
Getting back to Arizona State: although it looks like a great party school, it still failed to earn a place in Playboy’s 2009 Top Party Schools list, as featured in COED magazine.
As for dealing with the media, I would recommend that at the very least, you should read a book like Media Training 101. If you have a little more money and you’re in the Accordion City area, I would also suggest taking some training from someone like my friend Michael O’Connor Clarke, who’s forgotten more about dealing with the media than most people have learned.