NEWS HOOKS Mob Mentality

Do you have a mob mentality or do you choose your own thoughts? It’s a good question to ask if you’re wanting media attention. The breaking news around The Ashley Madison adultery hook-up site hack might give you insight into how you formulate opinions and thoughts congruent with or separate from the herd.

Columnist Heather Havrilesky discusses in The Cut why the Ashley Madison hack should scare you. Does it? Consider this…

When I first read that headline while perusing the headlines this morning, I thought, “Well, I don’t commit adultery so I have nothing to fear,” and then I read her perspective. She points out throughout history any type of mob shaming, such as witch-burning, red letters and public stocks, have had dire consequences. Is Ashley Madison another example of mob mentality shaming people into certain behaviors?

Reality show star, Josh Duggar, has been shamed by the hack. He even paid for an ‘affair guarantee.’ Now, everyone knows his fetishes and credit card numbers. For shame! (I can hear the nun, who was the principal of my grade school tsk tsking.) Most people feel cheaters asked for the public shaming they’re getting. However, will the hack expose innocent people unfairly?  Havrilesky retweets an example of a Saudi Arabian homosexual man outed by the hack. In his country, homosexual activity carries the death penalty. He is seeking asylum.

Her column really made me reconsider my perspective. That’s media pitching gold. If you can watch for trends and what is attracting “mob” aka mass appeal, write down your opposing views. Add your historical knowledge for added conversational depth. Shorten your sound bites, tell your side of the story and get those pitches to media friends. As national news stories develop, media friends seek alternate ways to present a story. It helps the ‘herd’ watching the news stories unfold make their own opinions. I know for sure Havrilesky’s column had me reconsider my herd mentality regarding the hack.

An old saying goes, as you point the finger at someone else, remember three fingers are pointing at you. Typically what bugs us about others is what bugs us most about ourselves. Hmmm.

Whether you’re up for shaming cheaters with the rest of the mob, or providing shelter to the dissenting few, your voice matters. And, you’ll have a greater chance of media coverage if your voice pierces at the perspective of others. Have the courage to speak up. Speak up loudly, though. The herd is mooing.


By |2016-10-13T16:37:55+00:00August 21st, 2015|

About the Author:

Good Morning America Producer Mable Chan calls Michelle Tennant a “Five Star Publicist.” Tennant, a partner and executive publicist with Wasabi Publicity Inc., calls herself a “storyteller to the media.” Her passion is telling “truly good stories” and “exclusively representing people who make a positive difference in the world.” For 25+ years, media friends have solicited her help in crafting news stories by requesting sources, sound bites, and statistics. An award-winning writer, Michelle peppers campaigns with insight from her master’s degree in human development, BFA from a top 25 drama school, and expertise seeing PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. She’s either spinning stories or spinning at the gym. After hours, she savors the Smoky Mountains with her husband, Siberian Husky, and backyard chickens. Learn more about her work through her column at The Huffington Post. Check out the clients she's currently pitching at

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