Thursday, September 11, 2008

The limits of talking points

I don't talk to a lot of politicians, but I interview plenty of business executives and technologists. The difference between someone who really knows the topic and someone who is repeating prepared talking points is obvious almost instantly. In this interview, Governor Palin is clearly repeating prepared talking points.

There's nothing wrong with talking points. They're a quick way to summarize a complex position, a business strategy, or a technical argument. They're a good starting point for further discussion. The public relations people I work with use them all the time.

But most of the public relations people I know understand their limitations, and will happily connect me with someone knowledgeable when I ask questions that require more expertise. They present the strategy, but they don't decide the strategy, and they know it.

Unfortunately, Governor Palin isn't running for White House press secretary.

Eight US presidents have died in office. One has resigned, and two more have been (unsuccessfully) impeached. Does even Senator McCain believe that this pick truly puts "Country First?"

(More politics, I know. I keep trying to stop, but the election keeps making smoke come out of my ears. I do promise to work on topical balance, though. Thank you for your patience.)

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