I’ve just watched a car crash TV interview on MSNBC in which Trump advisor Brad Thomas was crucified by two extremely knowledgeable financial journalists.

Mr Thomas praised President Trump for making the stock market go up and for creating a million jobs. His interviewers then made the points that (a) the stock market had been going up anyway since March 2009, (b) if you give Trump credit for job creation, you also have to give Barack Obama the same credit, as jobs went up under his watch even more.

Mr Thomas employed the old-school media training tricks of ignoring the question, repeating an allegation rather than providing evidence, and changing the subject. Unfortunately for him, his interviewers Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle are masters of their subject as well as very confident interviewers, and very quickly made him look ignorant and silly.

He then got rattled, and made a remark implying that he knew more about this subject than they did. He clearly didn’t. He also blinked a lot, ummed and erred and looked rather pink and sweaty. Some general lessons for media interviewees here.

  • Don’t lie on TV. You’ll be found out and you’ll look silly.
  • If the interviewer challenges what you just said, produce evidence that it’s right. You do have evidence, right?
  • If you’re asked a direct question, answer it. Once you’ve answered it, keep talking. ‘Yes’ ‘no’ answers are not good and put you on the ropes.
  • If you’re hot and sweaty in a TV studio, ask for make-up. If you’re elsewhere, see if you can get a towel and some talc.
  • Practise with a friend or colleague, anything you might get asked, particularly the difficult or controversial areas. In a media interview, the only difficult questions are the ones you haven’t prepared for.