Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Circular Logic 

The inability of a populace to understand complex issues is one of the limitations of democracy and of PR. Much of what we do is to simplify concepts so a broader group can grasp them. I was reminded of this when I read this story about a proposal to tax oil companies operating in California in order to put some of their profits to work on alternative fuels.

The logic sounds inviting, but in the end, Californians will pay the tax themselves in the form of higher fuel costs. Let's see. Californians are angry over the cost of fuel, so they tax the oil companies operating there who end up by increasing the cost of fuel, thereby making Californians more angry. Yes, that seems to make sense. But, that is the kind of circular logic that can happen in just about any proposal if the surface seems inviting enough.

A first rule of PR is accuracy -- understanding the issue at hand and expressing it correctly and factually. It seems to me that what California needs is a few more PR practitioners who know how to analyze issues.


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