Monday, June 07, 2004

Delusional optimists

James Horton, a PR pro who maintains the very good online-pr blog, writes about how successful optimists like Ronald Reagan can be in public relations:

“I have watched great PR salespersons spin stories I knew not to be true, but they made them happen and the end result was reasonably OK. I wonder how one does that, and the answer appears to be that optimists believe what they say to be true, whether it is or not. They are people whose dispositions see good even where there isn't much possibility of it.”

There’s another term than optimist for that kind of behaviour: delusional.

I cheerfully admit to believing the PR goulash I was serving the media from time to time, when I was working in partisan politics. As Horton points out, you get better results when you actually believe what you say is true. I often think about that when I watch various pundits and columnists (many of them are little more than PR flacks with a thin veneer of journalism) say things that are patently false. Do they really believe what they say? At that moment, they probably are. If they repeat it often enough, they’ll believe it all the time.


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