Clip from "The West Wing", Season 1, Episode 15, produced by Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme and John Wells).
In this episode of "The West Wing", Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (played by Allison Janney) undergoes dental surgery and cannot perform her normal duties briefing the press. So, Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (played by Bradley Whitford) volunteers to step in. C. J. warns him that it is not a good idea, as does Danny KinCannon, a White House reporter. Josh, however, let's his ego get the better of him, and dismisses their warnings as unjustified. What follows is a press briefing gone bad. VERY, very bad!
As we taught in a previous video, "I Do. Not. Have. An. Answer.", (http://youtu.be/zlgq6iGMluk
) it is just not a good idea to confront skilled reporters when you are not prepared for it. Confronting an adversarial press without proper preparation can result in gaffes that can really damage your credibility, sometimes for years to come. And in this age of social media, one negative review, blog post, or retweet can stay with you for years.
As this clip illustrates, there are serpentine reporters out there, like the one who asked Josh about the President's smoking. She already knew the answer before even asking Josh the question; she was just trying to bait him, to catch him in a lie or a contradiction. Reporters at this level of the game are taught how to do this, and they can really trip you up if you haven't thought out your answers on the thorny issues.