As you prepare for your upcoming interview with Stephen Sackur, host of the BBC’s popular HARDtalk, we know you are being bombarded with advice from both well-wishers and those who wish you anything but well.
The consensus – but trust us, it’s meaningless – may be that host Sackur is a Goliath, you a mere David, and the outcome not likely to turn out well.
We disagree, and would like to offer you a few thoughts of our own which, in fact, is the only advice you will need. Stick this editorial in your pocket, re-read it just before show time, and ignore anyone else and everything else in the meantime.
First, do not over-prepare. Do not over-strategize. Do not over-plan.
As heavyweight champ Mike Tyson once observed about his opponents’ over-preparing for their fights: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
You already know everything you need to know to do well on this 30-minute show. As a player in the Super Bowl opined going into yesterday’s big match-up, play the game only once – on the field, not in your head.
Second, we reviewed several recent HARDtalk episodes, and while Sackur can be both insistent and provocative – he likes a good fight – so what? So does Ezzard. And, now that we think of it, so do you.
Third, we are slightly concerned by an initial statement you made that you were “humbled” to be asked to appear on HARDtalk. Let’s stop that kind of thinking right now.
HARDtalk is a television show and Stephen Sackur is a journalist. Cayman is a country, and you are a Premier. You have already won the stature war.
Fourth, your biggest concern perhaps should not be the interview itself but the editing of the interview. We are reminded of renowned law professor Samuel Dash who came to some fame as chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. Dash, who taught at Georgetown Law School, was famous for delivering and recording an opening-day lecture to his students and then, overnight, editing his own remarks into a murder confession.
Television journalists, of the “60 Minutes” ilk, are notorious for their unfair editing practices. Make arrangements to receive a copy of the unedited interview footage in case the record needs to be “corrected” at a later date. It will also help to keep them honest.
Fifth, don’t get bogged down in parochial Cayman issues, such as landfill woes, cruise ship piers or Turtle Farm financials. Very few, if any, in the BBC audience could care less.
Finally, do not hesitate to use the line that master-debater William F. Buckley Jr. once uttered to an uppity television talk show host: “Sir, it is not inconceivable that I know a helluva lot more about this subject than you do.”
Remember: Relax, be polite, be friendly, and be yourself. You’ll do just fine.