It’s what I heard endlessly in acting class, and what we repeat in Story Circles: “The Power of Storytelling Rests in the Specifics.” Sadly, Trump demonstrated on Saturday how it works.
LET ME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT
On Saturday President Trump gave a textbook demonstration of the power of specifics, and non-power of non-specifics. Specifically … he said there’s blame “on many sides,” rather than naming specifically the alt-right groups that should have been named.
The key thing to note, for communications purposes, is how unpowerful non-specifics are. They talked about it in detail on Meet the Press on Sunday morning. Then, almost to demonstrate how that style of communications works, they had National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster engage in this little exchange with host Chuck Todd:
CHUCK TODD: Can you and Steve Bannon still work together in this White House or not?
MCMASTER: I get to work together with a broad range of talented people and it is a privilege every day to enable the national security team.
TODD: You didn’t answer — can you and Steve Bannon work in the same White House?
MCMASTER: I am ready to work with anybody who will help advance the President’s agenda and advance the security prosperity of the American people.
TODD: Uh … do you believe Steve Bannon does that?
MCMASTER: I believe that everyone who works in the White House, who has the privilege — the great privilege, every day, of serving their nation — should be motivated by that goal.
TODD: Okay. General McMaster, the National Security Advisor, thanks for coming in.
Talk about complete double-speak and evading the questions. But the nice thing was the show ended with Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, pointing it out exactly as he said McMaster, “used Washington-speak three times to say basically, no, I cannot work with Steve Bannon.”
Ah, Washington-speak. The art of filling voids with meaningless clutter.