Nice write up about Cliff's panel entitled, Going on TV here from someone who was able to make it. (grumble grumble)
* Connect with the viewers on an emotional level first--and later bring your facts to support the issue. But EMOTION first. Such as: I think it is interesting that you want a 12-year-old to buy a gun at a gunshow with no identification to buy an assault rifle that he can bring to a school...later bring the facts/figures that supplement the ideas you have about gun safety. Thinking comes after feeling for the voters, work with that. (Note: Cliff recommended Drew Westen's book The Political Brain for more on this. I attended a session later with Dr. Westen and was totally blown away by this work--I hope someone will diary that, or has already.)
* Prepare the issue. Do research, and pull out their most extreme examples. Never raise a question that you don't know the answer to. A woman in the group had an excellent suggestion here--use the non-profit/issue groups that have done the research on your topic. Call them--they have facts ready, they may have the emotional stories you can use, they may even be able to help you know the pitfalls and even the interviewer tactics you may be facing. This absolutely never occured to me, but she came from an organization that would love to have champions and they want to help get the message out. Another tidbit on preparing: watch the host in action, how he/she usually asks questions, but also be sure to know the other discussants and their strategies and buttons.
* Dealing with their filibustering: And they will do this....have a comment ready like: "Well, I know your party loves to filibuster, but we are here to debate..." "Have you had too much caffeine today? Let me talk..." My points are gonna get out there, or nobody's are!
* Have a good nugget about the topic at hand (let's say welfare issues, for example): "You are the party the gives money to cronies rather than give poor kids food and health insurance....
* Have some jokes ready: "Obviously you have gotten into Rush Limbaugh's medicine cabinet..."
* Grant these wingnuts absolutely no legitimacy, and laugh at them. Communicate that the other guy is ridiculous, with face and gestures.
* When they say something absurd to attack you, take 1 sentence to defend yourself and then frame your position as YOU want it. Forget about the question, make your point. Think Michael Moore on CNN recently.
* Demeanor/appearance: be poised, smile a couple of times, always assume the camera is on you--don't get faked out by commercial breaks, stare ahead at the camera. Dark blue shirt, red tie, navy blazer is pretty standard. Yes, earpieces suck, but they are the nature of the beast.