Wednesday, October 25, 2006

PC Run Amok 

Stories like this about education are frequent enough in the US. In this case, a student newspaper wasn't allowed to discuss test scores that had already been published in the local newspapers. The principle of the school didn't want to hurt the feelings of minority students. It's political correctness that seeks to deny facts out of dubious respect for others. And, it's sad because that same blindness to evidence pervades society.

Such behavior, it seems to me, is not public relations. It is the antithesis of it. Good PR starts with facts and goes from there. That is, one publicly accepts that minority students are behind and works with parents and the community to figure out what to do. Nothing is gained by kowtowing to feelings when the problem is not fixed. It simply continues the problem.

Few like to be confrontational, but there are times when it is proper. We have these arguments at work about clients. When does one tell a client that the client is heading in the wrong direction? What is our obligation, if any, to do so? It is easy to collect fees: It's harder to let a client know a program is in jeopardy because the client isn't delivering what is needed. Clients, of course, tend to accuse agencies of whining and failing to deliver, so there is an art to "telling it like it is." My policy has been to accomplish something positive, then tell clients the facts. They tend to listen better. However, that's not always possible. There are clients from hell who, consciously or not, throw every possible barrier before you when you try to get something accomplished. One wonders why they ever hired you in the first place.

There is no real answer for situations like this but ignoring facts doesn't solve problems.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?