Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The delicate bludgeon of PR spin

There are days I think it might be fun to get into the supposedly cushy world of public relations and marketing, and then there are days when I find the whole idea extremely revolting. Yesterday was one of those days.

The headline, of course, is that Ford Motor Co. has announced plans to eliminate 25,000 to 30,000 jobs as part of a corporate restructuring that's supposed to fix what ails the company. (Hopefully building a better car has occurred to these geniuses, too.)

But look how the official statement of these intentions is spun:

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Company today announced details of a comprehensive plan to restore profitability to its automotive business in North America no later than 2008. Ford will apply lessons learned from consumers and the company's successes around the world to strengthen its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands and deliver more innovative products while simultaneously reducing costs and improving quality and productivity.

There is a vague reference to "painful sacrifices" in the third paragraph, but not until Paragraph 17 do you find the bottom line:

Plant-related employment is reduced by 25,000-30,000 people in the 2006-2012 time period, in addition to salaried personnel reductions and a reduction in the company's officer ranks.

I don't think I could do a job where I'm required to so cheerfully cover up the fact that one in every four of my co-workers will be out of a job soon.


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