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#PR: Are Sound Bites Good PR?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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I read an article recently in the New York Times Online about the Professional Golf Association pulling its “Grand Slam” event from the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. (For the entire article, click here.)

The sound and furor over Mr Trump’s comments about illegal Mexican immigrants (which occurred during his televised speech on news networks last month when he announced his intention to run as a Republican Party candidate for the Presidency) appears to continue. And most of what you hear is a short “sound bite” that may or may not really tell the story.

That got me thinking… are sound bites a good PR tactic? And if we flacks use the practice of the sound bite, are we really doing our craft a major disservice? I often wonder if the sound bite does not “dumb down” topics that are worthy of more extensive discussion and debate. And how intelligent a choice can any voter make when all he or she has to go on are a bunch of “sound bites” and political ads?

Those of us who have heard Mr Trump on television know that he speaks his mind and that he does not mince words. I listened to the entirety of Mr Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for the office of President of the United States as a Republican rather than just an evening news sound bite on his comments about Mexico, illegal Mexican immigrants, and Mexicans. Trump went out of his way to say he knew and worked with people from Mexico who were good, honest, law-abiding folks. From having heard his entire speech – which was somewhat rambling at times, given the man himself – it seems clear to me Mr Trump’s comments about illegal Mexican immigrants were largely on target. Hardly what might be called offensive or racist? However, if one listened to just a news sound bite, you would believe otherwise.

What do you think about sound bites as a PR tactic? Are you for them or against them? Do you agree, or not, that the practice “dumbs down” topics of major importance?

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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