As someone who works in public relations, I love a good soundbite, and I’m quick to notice them when they appear in the media. One person I wouldn’t expect a good soundbite from is the mother of a hacker from Chicago who was part of the Anonymous group that hacked into company and government websites.
When Jeremy Hammond was arrested, his mother was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article as saying, “I love my son, but he is a genius with no brain.”
That’s a great quote that really captured a couple of concepts: she was able to convey the love she has for her son, while at the same time she spoke the truth about his alleged illegal activities. She managed to stay “in character” as his mother but also make a comment about his arrest succinctly and effectively.
I don’t know if she had public relations training, but she really knew what to say at that moment, and since then that quote has appeared in a lot of places.
Of course, we don’t want to have to be in a situation where we’re quoted about a tragic or illegal incident involving our children, but her response does show us that we have to be ready to say something that is interesting, compelling, and simple enough for people to understand and be interested in so that our soundbites travel even further.