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the classic example where less is more. You have no obligation to share your thoughts on every topic or on any topic. The tran-


dicious in choosing the most ef- fective response or presentation under the circumstances. Let’s say you were asked the vol-


atile question: “Has the Sandy Hook school shooting infl uenced your view on gun control?” Analysis from careful listening will disclose that this is a very unfocused and hollow question. “Infl uence” is a nebulous criterion. Any event can ‘infl uence’ one’s thinking. More- over, any person with a brain more developed than a Pet Rock knows that the phrase ‘gun con- trol’ has no meaning. Like tofu, it can be made into


anything you want it to be. In responding, you must se-


lect the most appropriate answer from the cascade of possible an- swers that will fl ood your mind. The selection will, in large mea-


sure, be determined by the pur- pose and context of your media interaction and by your assess- ment of the audience. Possible responses may in-


clude: “Yes, the shooting infl u- enced my thinking about gun control.” How? “It made me con- clude that better school security is necessary.” You might say, “The issue is complex and I am not prepared to discuss it at this time.” Or you might reply, “I’m not sure what gun control means so I have no opinion to offer.” Or you might say, “I am in favor of rea- sonable restrictions although we may disagree on what is ‘reason- able.’”


When the media interaction


tip toes beyond your focus and purpose, limiting the scope of your answer is justifi ed. This is


When the media


interaction tip toes beyond your


focus and purpose, limiting the scope of your answer is justifi ed. This is the classic example where less is more. You have no


obligation to share your thoughts on every topic or on any topic.


scendent lesson is that you must maintain control of the interac- tion. Say what is minimally ap- propriate and no more. The prudent person engaged


Rapiunt eum ad supplicium di patrii, quod iste inventus est qui e complexu parentum abreptos . singularem quandam poenam istius immanis atque importuna natura desiderat. singularem quandam poenam istius immanis atque importuna nata desiderat..


with the media knows that all media depends almost entirely on text messaging, brief and often poorly crafted Internet blogs and selective sound bites. You are advised, therefore, to think beyond your words and train yourself to continuously think how your words might be interpreted and misinterpreted. Remember, your words are you! They illuminate your character. Be judicious and be skilled.


Michael G. Sabbeth is a lawyer in Denver, Colo. He lectures on ethics and rhetoric to law associations and civic and business groups. He is the author of the recently published book, “The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Talk with Children About Values.” Please visit his website at www.kidsethicsbook.com.


@MichaelSabbeth 50 USA Shooting News | May 2013


Photo: Getty Images


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