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Being prepared

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Your “Independent” analysis and reporting of the so-called Duke lacrosse scandal has been great and very refreshing. However, the April 26 article “Flacking up: Duke lacrosse case becomes PR battle” by Mosi Secret misrepresented the briefing session that representatives from Burson-Marsteller held for some Duke faculty. Although they did run down some of the basics as you reported, they said stick to “your talking points.” The PR guys emphasized, at least 10 times in 40 minutes, that “we are not telling you what to say.” Actually, they said this so much and so often, that I got the distinct impression that they were not telling the faculty this, but reminding themselves that they can’t tell faculty what to say. The basic message they tried to convey was that the media is not interested in a 45-minute lecture about interlocking forms of oppression or the intersections of race, class and gender; the media is only interested in pithy sound bites, so be prepared and develop three or four talking points before your an interview.

Lee D. Baker
Durham

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