Obama/Captain Kirk Mind-Meld: Media Training the Star Trek Way


Captain James T. KirkIt's been a rough week for President Obama.The controversies surrounding the Benghazi attack, the Internal Revenue Service's scutiny of conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status and the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press staff phone records all heated up within a span of just a few days. The president's responses have not added up to a portrait of a hands-on, buck-stops-here leader. Even The New York Times said Obama has characterized himself as an "onlooker" in these events.

Coincidentally, the latest adventure of Captain James T. Kirk lights up screens today in "Star Trek Into Darkness." Kirk, as first conceived by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and original series actor William Shatner, is a take-charge leader who is sometimes plagued by self-doubt but always takes responsibility for everything that happens on his spaceship. He never tires of saying that he's responsible for the lives of everyone on his ship.

These quotes from Kirk in the original series could serve as inspiration for the president as he seeks to convey a new message of strong, involved leadership:

  1. "No more blah, blah, blah!": Obama could substitute "Benghazi" for "blah" in his efforts to cast the criticism about his handling of Benghazi as pure politics.
  2. "I was not prepared.": This declarative statement of fallibility sends a stronger message of responsibility than "The minute that I found out about it, then my main focus is to make sure we get the thing fixed.”
  3. "There are certain things men must do to remain men.": In response to the Justice Department's probe of the Associated Press, Obama said the investigation of leaks was necessary. “I don’t think the American people would expect me as commander-in-chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed," the president said. Kirk said the same thing in 10 words.
  4. "Peace or utter destruction. It's up to you.": Memo to the GOP, from the president.

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About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director of events for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.



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