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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MEDIA PIGS

Whether in business, government, or volunteer organizations, we all inevitably run into "Media Pigs." You know, self-promoters who insist on having the spotlight on them and object when others get more attention, particularly their competitors. To me, the person who best exemplifies this concept is Rev. Al Sharpton who is quick to take the microphone and queue the camera if an African-American sneezes. The focus seems to be more on the Reverend then the issue. Frankly, such people rub me the wrong way.

If there is a photo-op, the Media Pig is shown either shaking hands or trying to console or comfort someone. He/she is very cognizant of where to strategically stand in a photo too, usually in the front row and left side of the picture frame, so that his/her name will be listed first in the caption underneath. In press releases, the Media Pig also takes center stage so that he is properly recognized, regardless if he had anything to do with the announcement or not. I have even seen institutional histories written around individuals to highlight their accomplishments and overshadow others. I tend to believe history is more reliable when written by others, not yourself.

There is also no such thing as a media event that is too small for a Media Pig, be it a photo-op, press release, an appearance, an interview or whatever. It is not uncommon for such a person to spend more time cultivating his/her image than getting anything else done.

We all crave recognition in some form or another, it's human nature, but it's a matter of degrees. Whereas some people get by with a pat on the head or a word of encouragement, such as "good job," there are those who possess egos which need to be stroked liberally. These are people who usually suffer from megalomania with delusions of grandeur, and such people tend to upset the harmony of a team effort. In fact, the word "teamwork" is not in the Media Pig's vocabulary unless, of course, it can be used for political gain.

The Media Pig craves recognition, be it in a large or small institution. For example, Media Pigs love to be judges in county fairs where they award blue ribbons. Make no mistake though, these self-promoters are more interested in advancing their careers than anything else; "Look what I did, look how great I am." Such vanity is commonly found in government where politicians try to demonstrate to their constituents something they have accomplished so they will be reelected. Entertainers also tend to fall into this category as they normally have ready access to the media.

It is one thing to occasionally seek the approval of others around you, quite another to be the center of attention. Quite frankly, I haven't got time for Media Pigs, nor do I give them the time of day. I am more inclined to agree with Thomas Carlyle who said, "The work an unknown man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green."

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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