“With best wishes to Kevin who understands what this is all about” – Jody Powell

“When the news seemed to me then and now, to be wrong, unsupportable, and unfair.” – President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary Jody Powellpowellsignature

One of my most cherished possessions is a personally signed copy of Jody Powell’s 1984 book about presidential public relations and the media, “The Other Side of the Story.”

Powell passed way-too-young (65) of an apparent heart attack seven years ago, making my copy of this hardbound book irreplaceable.

Today, the author of Almost DailyBrett assigns new PR students Powell’s remembrances of his brain-fart disclosure to the media of Jimmy Carter smacking a “the killer rabbit” with a canoe oar, “A Grave Mistake,” and more importantly do PR pros in extreme circumstances have “The Right to Lie”?powellbriefing

Powell is seen through the lens of history as one of the very best to serve as the chief spokesman and communications strategist for the leader of the free world. Without a doubt that will be Jody’s lasting legacy. Alas, he served a president who was besieged with 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, out-of-control inflation and economic malaise.

Despite Powell’s best efforts, Carter was excused from the presidency in 1980, winning only six states + DC or 49 electoral votes. Powell eventually shook off the loss, and provided wisdom to all PR pros with his “The Other Side of the Story.”

This simple title also should serve as a reminder to us all that with all issues, there is indeed another side to the story.

To my horror, your author remembers being told there is no other side of the story when it comes to a major criminal justice issue. My training as a political/business public relations professional is there are indeed two sides to every story, and you are simply not doing your job if you don’t comprehend the opposing argument.

How can you fashion a winning rebuttal?

Getting Out of Our Filter Bubbles

One of the tenets of public relations theory (don’t glaze over) is Cognitive Dissonance or the practice of re-examining a hard-felt position upon the presence of compelling new information. John F. Kennedy through his charm and conviction was able to gain support from Republicans despite setbacks (e.g., Bay of Pigs). Conversely, Ronald Reagan’s success and communication skills led to the formation of a new-at-the-time political force, The Reagan Democrats.

Does Cognitive Dissonance still apply today in our woefully divided, gridlocked society?

Looking into my crystal ball, will President Hillary Clinton be “primaried” (new verb) in 2020 by Bernie-Sanders-progressives, if she works with Speaker Paul Ryan? There is zero doubt that Clinton and Ryan see the world differently, but at the same time it is their job to work together for the benefit of the country.powellbook

 

In order to do just that, both sides need to appreciate there is indeed The Other Side of the Story. Even more germane, is this notion is at the heart of the Marketplace of Ideas.

For example, many decry the fact that an estimated 2 million are incarcerated in American jails and prisons, a disproportionate number hail from minority communities. Is that the only side of the story that matters?

As press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, our administration doubled the size of the state’s prison system, which was a godsend considering the massive overcrowding issue the Golden State faces to this day.

Were we being mean, hateful and vindictive or were we responding to the public who did not want criminals in their neighborhoods and in the streets?

Are there indeed two sides (mass incarceration and public safety) to this criminal justice issue?

In a more intense sense, there is a reason why ISIS is so evil, so angry and so violent? Is there a side to their story we should try to comprehend? Yes. At the same time, we need to respond to their attacks on soft targets in the United States, Western Europe and the Middle East. We have our side of the story as well.

Almost DailyBrett knows instinctively that Donald Trump will soon and thankfully fade from the airwaves and digital screens. The ensuring period of global Schadenfreude will pass as well.

Will we reach a point in which we respect there really are two sides to virtually every story? When and if we do, we will become a much more civil society.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/us/politics/15powell.html?_r=0

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/14/AR2009091402738.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

 

 

Advertisements