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Let’s wave the flag for truth

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 @ 01:09 PM
posted by Barbsawyers

I was surprised by the flak I received about my guest post on Spin Sucks about how Ann Romney’s claim of eating off an ironing board in her young married days undermined her credibility.

If I had questioned something said by Laureen Harper, the well-liked wife of our conservative prime minister, partisans would have attacked. But in a quieter Canadian way.

That’s why we’re not big on U.S.-style attack ads. Our politicians know if they push too hard, the ads will backfire.

 we have the same communication issuesI should have expected that Americans would have strong opinions about my post. From personal observations and books like Michael Adam’s Fire and Ice, I know we are different in many ways.

I first realized this as a child in a motor boat watching the tourists in boats festooned with American flags. They waved. We waved back. But we never waved first.

Growing up near Buffalo and American television, I loved watching the fantastic parades and sports pageantry. I’ll never forget the fourth of July spectacular I witnessed in Boston.

But there’s a long list of values and issues we disagree on, even in red zones like Calgary. We love our public healthcare so much that even the most right-wing politician would not change the fundamentals. Across our predominantly blue country, most of us also disagree about gun control, bank regulation, taxation and a host of other issues.

Despite our differences, many of us envy how gutsy and innovative Americans can be. We love Disney, Apple and Facebook. We love American television and film. We love your brands, as the many U.S. retailers now invading our country realize.

As your closest neighbour and best friend, we share your pain. Yesterday, on the anniversary of 9/11, we echoed your outrage and grief. We recall where we were on that day, just as we remember the first man on the moon and the Kennedy assassinations.

If you work in public relations or any other facet of business communication, you’ve probably been asked to spin or exaggerate a detail to improve a story. The outcry over the Romney ironing board simply demonstates why you need to decline.

Canadian or American, red or blue, it’s our job to wave the flag for truth. Not just because it’s right. But because it works.

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2 Responses to “Let’s wave the flag for truth”

  1. It’s funny – a friend and I were just talking about how political people get on a blog about PR and marketing. I do my best to corral them, when they get unruly, but some were very disrespectful about your post…and it’s usually the people who don’t normally read or comment, so take it with a grain of salt.

    The point you were making is it’s one thing to embellish a story when you’re talking about the fish you caught. It’s another thing to do so when you’re telling a story about your business.

  2. Barbsawyers says:

    I just chalk it up to how political you Americans are. One of my friends, a dual citizen, was just telling me how she reverts to email instead of replying on Facebook or her blog when things get too political. No point in needlessly upsetting our U.S. friends.


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