Gerrymandering the Mind

Defining your message is easy. Being convincing is the challenge.

Defining your message is easy.
Being convincing is the challenge.

“I don’t judge wine from a technical point of view, but from the pleasure it gives me,” Italian connoisseur Luca Maroni wrote in bestowing a near-perfect rating on an uncommon wine.

That attitude works well for subjective things such as wine or music or movies, where “I know what I like” is the ultimate test — or at least should be.

Not so well elsewhere. In the social, political and economic realms, the “don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts” attitude begets intolerance and paralysis. Arguably more so now than ever.

Religious-affiliated organizations often brook no dissent or even doubt. Neither do political organizations of all stripes. Celebrities, liberal and conservative, say or do things that rile some faction — then the commentariat piles on, either to condemn or defend.

Even the judiciary isn’t immune, presuming it ever was. Doubt it? Read any newspaper when a court is weighing an important decision. The ruling is usually predictable depending on the politics of whoever nominated the judge to the court.

Straying from doctrine is sacrilege. Remember how quickly — if temporarily — the political right condemned U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, a reliable conservative, after he upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

The result is enervating. Several longtime members of Congress from both parties opted not to seek re-election in recent years, blaming endless bickering, posturing and obstruction for undermining the reason they sought office in the first place: to work together to find common ground to solve common problems. The latest is Henry Waxman, a 20-term Democrat from Los Angeles who this week announced that he is throwing in the towel.

Making yourself heard isn’t the problem. Those who already agree are waiting eagerly for you to provide justifications for what they believe.

Getting others to listen is. A vast philosophical chasm exists. Society is cynical and skeptical.

Defining your message is easy. Convincing those outside your “camp” is the challenge.

This is the real test of how effectively you truly communicate.


We’ve just published A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media. It provides a glimpse into the dicey world of working with the media when time is short, tensions are high and reputations are on the line. It’s available on Amazon, and we’ve arranged for you and your friends & colleagues to download the e-book for free today (Sunday, Feb 2nd). Also, anyone who buys the paperback is entitled to a free download — regardless of when. Here’s the link:


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Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Preparation & Training. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-826-8696.

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