We live in a soundbite-driven world. The demand is there to give the media what it wants - grabby, newsworthy and provocative quotes that can drive and frame a story.
Our most current "teachable moment" in the consequences of using and then waffling on a grabby soundbite comes from GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty.
There are two noteworthy media realities going on here. The first reality is that CNN moderator Jon King is pushing Pawlenty against the ropes. The media loves nothing more than a boxing match and reporters will find every opportunity to push you into the corner to defend your position, especially if it's a juicy headline grabber like "Obamneycare" which Governor Pawlenty went to great lengths to use over the weekend before this debate.
The second media reality is that reporters don't necessarily speak in soundbites but they do like to use the hot expressions of the moment. This year it's dialing back which is a variation on walking it back. Both mean the same thing - trying to explain away a position you took that now has you in squirming in the media headlights.
This may all seem painfully obvious now in the post-debate light of day but there is a worthwhile teachable moment here for any company spokesperson: if you go for the gusto with a super-charged soundbite you better be willing to stand up and defend it. Whether you're tempted to bury your competition with clever words and mashed-up phrases, remember that the media will take up your cause but not always to your liking. So it's always best to think about all of the consequences before it's too late.