Posted by Bruce Pilgrim
Talking to My Cats: 11-27-07
There is no truth to the scurrilous charge that working in contemporary PR is in any way akin to Winston Smith's job in George Orwell's 1984. Smith worked in the Records office of The Ministry of Truth, rewriting the past. If a prominent member of the party fell out of favor, that individual became an "unperson" and all references to said unperson were expunged. This often required the deletion of him or her from any and all photographs. (If only Winston had had access to Photoshop.)
PR's task these days is often quite the opposite, the somewhat subtle task of rehabilitating past actions of key figures, revising the past to fit present objectives. This works particularly well with dead people who are, well, conveniently dead. No one except their heirs can contradict the virtuous new garments we weave around the departed to justify our agendas.
That's why all the Republican presidential candidates are trying to appear Reaganesque rather than Bushlike. By recasting Ronald Reagan through a distorted nostalgic lens that ignores certain awkward facts, they promise a return to a fondly recalled time that never actually was.
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