Thomas Ricks, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author of the NY Times best-selling book about the war in Iraq, Fiasco, and the current hot seller, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today had an interview with Fox News cut off after 90 seconds because he dared tell the interviewer Jon Scott the truth: Fox News functions " as a wing of the Republican Party."In the same week Ricks said to a Washington Post reporter, "MSNBC invited me, but I said, 'You're just like Fox, but not as good at it.' They wrote back and said, 'Thank you for your candor,'" and of course there was no interview on MSNBC.Ricks' The Generals' main hero is Gen. George Marshall, one of whose distinguishing characteristics was that he "told the truth to power." Ricks writes that Marshall's blunt comments to Gen. Pershing in World War II helped his career because Pershing appreciated the truth even if it was contrary to what he wanted to hear.Same with Roosevelt. Marshall's respectful, confidential (non-public) dissent convinced Roosevelt to change his support for a large pre-WW II build-up of air power and to build up ground forces instead, which proved to be the right decision when the war came. The notion of telling truth to power is one of the main lessons of The Generals.And it's pretty much the same lesson we learn from the transformational book on selling, The Challenger Sale , which breaks into smithereens previous models of selling with reference to massive Corporate Executive Board (CEB) research on today's successful sales forces. The research indicates that there are five types of salespeople: The Hard Worker, the Lone Wolf, the Challenger, the Reactive Problem Solver, and the Relationship Builder.The best performers? Contrary to previous received wisdom, the best performers are not Relationship Builders, who lower prices and tell clients whatever they want to hear, but are the Challengers who tell clients the truth, who teach clients how to buy, and who take control of the conversation. In other words, the best salespeople tell the truth to power, like Thomas Ricks did to Fox News and MSBNC.I'm guessing that the crusty, curmudgeonly journalist Thomas Ricks or the straight-laced, publicity-shy general George Marshall would not be thrilled to be called great salespeople, but they are in fact, role models for and representative of the best new-age salespeople who don't make their living by buying drinks, lunches, and tickets for their clients and by telling them what they want to hear. The best new-age media salespeople, tell clients the truth, respectfully and confidentially (like Ricks and Marshall did), and help them get results.Great media salespeople don't put their careers, the money or commission they might make from a deal or their companies first, they put their clients' interests first. They tell the truth to power.Until he retired in 2002, Charlie Warner was Vice President of AOL's Interactive Marketing division. Before joining AOL, he was the Goldenson Endowed Professor at the Missouri Journalism School where he taught media management and sales, and he created and ran the annual Management Seminar for News Executives. Charlie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read all Charlie&#8217;s MediaBizBloggers commentaries at The Media Curmudgeon.Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.comFollow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBloggerThe opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.