Thursday, May 27, 2004

It's never too soon to say it's too late

Limiting policy options to just a few choices (or no choice at all) is a time-honoured public relations technique. When you get people to believe that “my policy may be bad, but the alternatives are worse”, you’re doing pretty well. The nuclear energy industry, President Bush in Iraq and most dictatorships are all asking people to endorse their products as being better than chronic brownouts, more terrorism or revolution. The trick is to obscure the debate by pushing aside all reasonable options.

A slightly different twist is telling people that it’s actually too late to choose.

George Bush: It’s too late to change our minds about Iraq. If we pull out now, there will be a horrible civil war. We have a moral obligation to stay the course.

Big Oil and their cronies: It’s too late to sign the Kyoto agreements now that most countries have rejected it.

Big Oil and their cronies 2: Scientists say it’s too late to reverse global warming anyway. So why get wreck the economy too?

Interesting to see how the same people who put us in trouble in the first place then say it’s too late to do anything about it. But after all, public relations are a lot about avoiding responsibility.

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