Media Lessons Learned and Civil-Military Divides

November 12, 2013
Marines use heavy equipment

Last week I received a call from a producer at C-SPAN asking if I would be free to discuss issues relating to the state of military-societal relations on Veterans Day due to a piece that I had written for U.S. News and World Report’s World Report blog back around Memorial Day. I readily agreed. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a student of civil-military relations (Sam C. Sarkesian and Charlie Moskos were excellent role models and teachers, and Jay Williams remains a great mentor and friend) this was both a topic that I was interested in and something that I had given a lot of thought about. They told me that they would call me back with the details.

The next day I learned that I would occupying the 7:30-8:15AM time slot on Veterans Day. My day off would become an early morning rise. In homage to my former military self here are some of my lessons learned for early morning TV (and for radio, too) appearances for my fellow WOTR kin and any interested readers.

(1) Caffeinate. Make sure to have a cup of strong coffee before arriving for a taping. This will help ensure that you do not give the wrong title of a book like, say, Supreme Command by Eliot Cohen…

(2) Break a Mental Sweat First. If you are taking mass transit to the studio you may want to do some Soduku puzzles, or whatever one likes, first. Breaking a mental sweat first, when combined with caffeine should help you reduce unforced errors. This is especially helpful as you get older.

(3) Arrive Early. If you are like me and do not live in New York or DC you will likely have to go to an independent media studio to be linked into the live feed of a national show. Be sure to arrive early to make sure that you can react to any “audibles.” In my case there was a miscommunication between the studio and the producer about where the shoot would take place and my being early allowed me time to get to proper location.

(4) Take Cues from the Host and Be Polite. Being on a show such as the Washington Journal is a privilege so don’t take the bait when, for instance, a 9/11 Truther calls in. The hosts of such shows know what they are doing so take their cue when they brush callers aside. The producers of such shows have asked you on because they feel you have something interesting to contribute, so contribute.

You can watch the appearance here. Thanks again to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal for having me on.

It just so happened that I wrote a piece for U.S. News and World Report on this subject while preparing for the appearance. You can check it out here.


Michael P. Noonan, a War on the Rocks contributor, is the director of the Program on National Security at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Photo credit: DVIDSHUB