Good PR people - like all good writers - must first learn to read between the lines, so as to understand what they were meant to understand.
Good PR people - like all good writers - must first learn to read
between the lines, so as to understand what they were meant to
Sports publicists have the easiest job probably, because a final result
is always available. If ’it doesn’t matter who won or lost, but how you
played the game,’ then why, the cynics ask, do we keep score?
And the language of sports is easier than others to translate into
After a while, we come to know that if a player withdraws because of
’exhaustion,’ he’s hungover; if he’s ’troubled,’ he’s on drugs; and if a
pitcher has ’lost a little on his fastball,’ he may not last the
Here in Washington in our other national sport - politics - it’s more
difficult to translate governmental actions into reality. This is
because there is no final score; the game never ends, even though the
media are continually adding up wins and losses as well as runs, hits
It’s July and the ’Confrontation’ season has begun. The opening day of
’Compromise’ season comes just after Labor Day and then the ’Analysis’
season - post-adjournment - arrives when we will be told who won, just
in time for the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary to begin it
all over again.
As this column is being written, the media is telling us that the
Republicans have won a victory on the tax bill. A version of a tax cut
has narrowly passed the House, the product of fierce PR and lobbying by
business (’taxpayers’) and the securities industry, looking for a
capital gains tax reduction.
But the best of our industry know better.
The real compromise was never between Democrats and Republicans, who
will meet in the Fall Classic, but between conservative and moderate
Republicans, each finally reluctant to embarrass the Speaker. Anyone,
even a lobbyist/PR rep for the American Council for Capital Formation
(whose motto is ’End Capital Gains Taxation’), eager to sell securities
now, counting on the GOP version (a 25% reduction effective July 1) and
looking for a lower tax burden, is fooling himself. If we read the words
of the tax bill, it looks like Easy Street - but when the music is
filled in along with a veto message calling it ’welfare for the rich,’
the message is truly more like ’wait ’til next year.’
That’s why PR firms seek recruits with experience on Capitol Hill. If
they’ve been alert, they’ll know things are seldom what they seem. Know
the terrain, our advice should be. The road maps and mileage signs (and,
for that matter, the press accounts) are - as Justice Owen Roberts once
said about laws - ’Like bus tickets, good for this day only.’