There is worldwide coverage of the story about Urooj Khan, the Chicago man who won the lottery and ended up dead from cyanide poisoning. It’s a real-life mystery that all kinds of media are covering. So you’d think anyone connected to Khan would be careful about what they’re saying in the press. However, it seems that his wife didn’t think about what kind of impression she was giving when she talked to the Chicago Sun-Times. In Stefano Esposito and Mitch Dudek’s article, “Wife of poisoned lottery winner hopes ‘God will reveal thetruth’,” she said that she gave Khan his last meal. Also, to let people know that she had nothing to do with his death, she said, “No, I loved him to death.”
Yes, she probably did love him, but using that phrase is really not appropriate for the circumstances. This is a great example of thinking carefully when you talk to the media because what you say will be everywhere and could really embarrass you.
That’s especially true if you’re not being honest. The latest example of how what you say can come back to haunt you is Lance Armstrong, who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs after several public denials. The Guardian writer Stephen McMillan summed up what Armstrong has said in his article, “Lance Armstrong’s doping denials – in quotes,” which blatantly shows that he lied. I wonder what kind of advice his publicist gave him over the years, and how they’re going to deal with the fallout now.
To prevent any kind of problem, whether it’s just a slip of the tongue or something more serious, you should be prepared to talk to the media. One way to get ready is to do a mock interview and have someone throw all kinds of questions at you to practice what you’d say. Or you can simply get advice from someone who’s experienced, or talk to your public relations professional to find out what you should do. After all, whether an issue seems big or small, the wrong words can kill your reputation.