What makes the all-talk format reliable is the challenge to
the guest live and how the guest expert must respond live.
The guest needs to think on his/her feet without the
protections inherent in being in the classroom or the lab.
The idea of hearing it from the author becomes a two-edged
sword. In this regard, nuance has always been more in tone,
pause, thoughtfulness, objectivity and more. You can hear it
all on the air as it becomes the body language of talk
In a specialized media training advice on what makes a good
guest in every election season -- and perhaps even worldwide
-- we, as consultants and as consumers in one, may expect to
see guest media training on the subject of nuance of a
different type: the composition of a response.
I'm not a fan of the new nuance. As a denizen of talk radio
as a guest expert and listener, I do not recommend nuance as
a style of educating listeners. Nuance, to my way of
thinking, has always been the sincerity of the on-air
persona of the guest. Today, nuance is actually
issue-spotting or making issue as opposed to legitimate
clarification on a fine point. The name itself is a nuance
of re-branding the practice of spin, re-characterizing an
issue by showing an exception or a unnoticed benefit; the
spin is betrayed when the nuance is irrelevant and gets in a
lick, instead of performing the public service to the
I bring this up because every guest is expected to have all
the answers and to be objective on something such as the
Vote. This means finer points, yes, but when those points
are made, every single one needs to be a distinction with a
difference; without this value, the nuance sounds more like
a hostility than welcome objectivity.
This hazard for a guest is increasing. Audiences are better
at their critical thinking, a little more battle-hardened
now from being lied to, mocked behind closed doors, called
stupid, vexed, and generally having a sense of being
Apologies for calling people stupid and
coming clean about revealing privy attitudes that they
really believe that people are stupid aren't enough anymore.
They are most unwelcome and eschewed as illegitimate debate,
and this is at it should be. Conservative, liberal or in
between, any guest who wants to defend their thesis,
therefore, needs a tone of helpfulness instead of giving
listeners the distinct feeling of superiority.
Calling spin nuance is to put lipstick on every pig in the
stye. If the lack of civility doesn't change, one may at
first appear to win any argument and then lose the election.
In this country, each side has views of genuine merit, but
the new nuance can make a fatal mistake in forgetting one
reality of life, public relations life: no matter what the
merit of your nuance, the electorate will ignore it if they
dislike and distrust you. It's even more assured if the
guest ever reveals by nuance how they dislike the