I met Ted Koppel briefly some years ago. We were both on a small plane going into Marco Island, I think. I was attending the meeting of my client, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). Ted looked like he was heading for vacation. As we walked across the tarmac to the terminal, I used the opportunity to test a proposition. As PR consultant to STS, I had been telling them that a big problem they had was that nobody knew what they did. In fact, nobody knew what the word "thoracic" meant. As a result, despite their life-saving activities at the very top of the medical profession, they had little public support when they complained that payment for their services was actually declining, just when we would be needing them most. For the record, "thoracic" means chest area. They are heart and lung surgeons.
So, I thought, "I wonder if a very smart and influential guy like Ted Koppel knows what a thoracic surgeon does?" So, this exchange took place:
"Mr. Koppel, hi, I'm Bill Black. I'm a consultant for the thoracic surgeons. Do you mind if I ask you a question?"
"No, go ahead."
"Can you tell me what a thoracic surgeon does?"
"Sure. Operates on the throat."
"Sorry, no. They are heart surgeons and you've given me a great anecdote."
"Fine," Koppel says with a disgusted wave of his hand, "There's your anecdote." And he marched off, clearly pissed.