Jul 10

How do you fight an on-air ambush?

Being on hundreds of talk radio shows entirely on second amendment issues, and having been asked to coach other contributors, I decided to start my own business on coaching liberty contributors to be super guests on the air. Please follow me on Facebook.

Gotcha politics and media: If you get onto talk radio as a guest expert, you have to anticipate hostile gotcha callers, especially if you’re daring to escape preaching to the choir and finding new audiences for the liberty message. In that case, how do liberty contributors as invited guests take the ambush calls on the air? Simple: by seizing the opportunity to educate the listener, not the hostile – and still not arguing with the caller. The key is to furnish an extremely illuminating answer.

Remember that the Troll is not only anti-social, but angry and very likely ill-informed. The audience is not nearly as hostile as the Troll is, but still interested in your own character and patience in how you will handle the Troll. How this is actually done is best conferred in personalized coaching, but here is the thumbnail version. Remember also that you’re a good will ambassador for liberty outside the choir and now you are before listeners who do not know what you know. Not yet, that is.

1. Do not deflect the question. Do not mock the question or the caller. Craft as germane an answer as you can.

2. Answer the question, whatever it is; respond, no matter how gotcha it was put to you. Odds are it is a very good opportunity to educate the audience and skip the Troll; disabuse the Troll by enlightening the audience and him in the process. Do not waste precious seconds being polite, acknowledging good points of his view, being humble and over-generous to the Troll; do not waste precious air-time being friendly and do not quarrel; be objective and begin your point immediately. Allow the audience to see this directness in your response. They’re waiting for it.

3. Educate listeners on precisely the best possible thing they should know in what they are asking. You’re the expert, it’s your call.

Example: Why do you need a gun? You must really hate authority. Why do you hate the police so much?

Answer: Why I am armed is largely because of several realities a household has to live with. The first is that police have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others. What this means to you is that the nearest unit may have other priorities and cannot be held liable if they should be unable to get there in time. Most emergencies are much faster than the average response time of first responders, so you need to first appreciate that you are on your own during the most critical moments of the emergency. How you elect to handle this reality is a household decision between being prepared versus refusing to own a gun in the home and being entirely unprepared. Remember that refusing to own a gun in the home is to believe that you have delegated to others responsibility for your own safety; you cannot really delegate it away to anyone else in the least, since they are under no obligation to take your place. 

The beauty of this opportunity is in the truth that you – the expert – know what needs to be most emphasized in an answer most meaningful to the audience. For instance, the gist of your answer could also be this: Understand that a citizen has a great deal of latitude in what they may do in the absence of police. It is important to know this latitude since you never delegated to police the responsibility for your safety. In short, the law recognizes that you are free to act reasonably in their absence. Put another way, if the target of violence is armed, there is more reasonableness, more public policy, more public interest and more law present than in all the gun laws.

One doesn’t ‘hate police’ by knowing this important reality and sharing it. Gun owners and police are allies, actually, the same mission, the same purpose. Police themselves warn citizens of this, depending on which jurisdiction you are. Officers who mention this to you care about your household much more than the people who want you to have no weapon.

One of the greatest mistakes of some households is that they do not consult gun owners before refusing to own a gun. You may want to consult gun owners in what you may actually do in an emergency.


How to respond to hostile questions must be viewed as an opportunity to educate thousands, not win an argument with one single Troll.

The tough questions are where the experts shine on talk radio. Welcome those questions.

For more insights on media coaching, see my archived LinkedIn page here.


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