The St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy held a special class on October 24 for “upper-echelon law enforcement professionals.” The subject:
OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING — YOU CAN WIN WITH THE MEDIA
The class, taught by PR agent Rick Rosenthal, focused on such topics as “Managing the Media When Things Get Ugly (Think Ferguson).” A flyer promoting the class promised, “In addition to the Ferguson case study, this fast-paced class is jam-packed with the essential strategies and tactics, skills and techniques that will help you WIN WITH THE MEDIA!”
Sound boring? Not at all! “The training is also highly entertaining,” the flyer emphasized. “You will learn a lot, and you’ll have fun doing it!”
That does sound like fun–learning how to best manipulate the media after your colleagues have killed a human being.
In case you weren’t able to join in the festivities, Rosenthal shared some of his insights with the cop-oriented website PoliceOne.com (8/2/12), in an interview headlined “Feeding the Animals: 10 Tips for Winning With the Media After an OIS.” (OIS= Officer-Involved Shooting–imagine if you had to say that whole phrase every single time!)
The headline is a reference to Rosenthal’s advice to “feed the animals early and often”–by which he means “talking to the media.” And the article explains why you do that:
The more information they are fed after an OIS, “the less likely they’ll go foraging on their own, finding far less knowledgeable and far less credible ‘sources’ for ‘news’ that is often based on innuendo, hearsay, speculation, vengeance and biased personal opinion.”
“Foraging on their own” means journalists talking to sources (or “sources”) who aren’t the police. If you follow Rosenthal’s tips for handling the “animals,” apparently you can avoid that disastrous phenomenon altogether.
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Hat tip: @Projectheureka, @MWallner_.