How to turn a contradictory comment into a media quote

Start with this pair of sentences:

Policing isn’t about communicating with people. It’s about communicating with people.

That would be a pretty daft instant contradiction, wouldn’t it?

But wait. Let’s say “PR” instead of “communicating”. Because PR = boo! bad! nothing to do with communicating!

Policing isn’t about PR. It’s about communicating with people.

Doesn’t quite work, does it? So let’s throw in something about the nasty internet:

Policing isn’t about PR and fancy websites. It’s about communicating with people.

Ah, that’s better. Second sentence is still a bit contradictory though. So let’s add in something about cutting crime. Cutting crime and communicating aren’t contradictory of course, but it might just hide the meaning a bit…

Policing isn’t about PR and fancy websites. It’s about keeping people safe and communicating with people.

One final touch, let’s change that communicating bit:

Policing isn’t about PR and fancy websites. It’s about keeping people safe and reassuring the public.

And voila. Let’s hope no-one reading that thinks, “Hang on a minute. The public keep on telling researchers they are more reassured the more they know about what the police are doing in their area. So surely reassuring people is about PR and that pair of sentences doesn’t add up?”

Because that would just make it sound like we’ve gone for the easy jibe the media will love and to hell what boring stuff like the evidence that communicating with people does reassure them.

And that of course is something the Taxpayers’ Alliance would never do, isn’t it?

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2 Comments

  • Mark Wallace 14th Feb '10 - 9:48am

    Boxing straw men is always so much easier, isn’t it? You conveniently failed to mention that the activityyoure defending, which you appear to reckon is the type of PR which will “reassure” the public was erm a blog purporting to be written by a police dog.

    Further your whole argument rests on the weird idea that when we say “reassuring the public”, we can only mean through PR- when in fact the evidence is clear that as the police have spent more and more on PR and comms, public trust in them has gone down. This assumption that the public would feel better if only a press officer told then to more often is absurd, and I’m sorry to see you repeating it. In actual fact, the police can best reassure the public by – ooh let’s see – reducing crime?

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