Thursday, February 26, 2009
This op-ed from The New York Times condemns the way politicians use sound-bites to take simplistic positions and the way sound-bites are used against them out of context. It ignores an essential element about humans. People like short, simple phrases that express a position or truth. They have always been that way from the earliest uses of rhetoric in ancient Greece and before. The human ear does not comprehend complexity easily. It wants a nugget to grasp. A sound bite is just that. While I understand and agree with the writer's view that we need to analyze the whole text of a speech and not just a phrase, people can't and won't do that as a speech is being delivered. They are listening for key points. The best approach is to avoid controversial sound bites if one is treading on sensitive ground. One wonders if a PR practitioner vetted Attorney General Eric Holder's remarks with that in mind.