bad PR

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joh2001smile

Senior Member
Chinese
This is from a book about think tanks. Some Canadian think tanks are contracted by the government to convey its ideas(government's ideas, rather than their ideas) to the public during the constitutional conferences as the government's credibility was questioned by the public.
I guess the PR means public relation here. But I don't understand the logic: why it could be considered as bad PR if the think tanks refused to accept the government's invitation to function as organizers and facilitators in the conferences?
Context:
Judging by the arrangements agreed to before the conferences began,it was clear that the institutes would not be permitted to exercise complete independence. This was a price,however,that some institutes were prepared to pay. Asked why their institute became involved in the 1992 conferences even though they would not be permitted to enjoy complete independence,a senior analyst from one think tank remarked ,"We did not want to get involved in the conferences but figured we had to. It would have been perceived as bad PR to not want to save the country" (off-the-record telephone interview).
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Some people will support the government's position, and feel for some reason that the opposition positions are dangerous to the country. These people would feel that the think tanks had failed in their duty if they refuse to help the government's views' prevail. They would perceive it as bad PR.

    Of course, other people will feel that the think tanks' intellectual integrity has been compromised, if they represent a position that has been assigned to them, rather than one that represents their own best thinking.
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It's not clear with whom this would be "bad PR". With the government or with other potential clients of the think tanks? I'm inclined to think it means with the government. Not to participate in these conferences would damage the think tanks' future prospects of government business.

    Why is that so?
    From the perspective of the government, the purpose of the conferences was "to save the country".
    The think tanks had a choice.
    They could refuse to take part in the conferences as a matter of principle - because they knew they would not be independent.
    Or they could take part in the conferences and compromise this principle.

    The government view was that these conferences were to "save the country".

    The government, for sure, would consider any organisation refusing to take part in the conferences as disloyal, not interested in saving the country, and not likely to be given any future business.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    That's true: they may have been more concerned about their reputation with the government.

    What I find curious is the word "perceived". Who would have done the perceiving? The think tanks themselves? Then the use of the passive seems odd to me. But who else would care about their public relations?
     

    joh2001smile

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Cagey,
    I had the same confusions with you. After reading panjandrum's explanation, I still feel it would be more natural or logic if it is '*** perceived as disloyal to not want to save the country'.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, I suspect you are right to interpret bad PR as disloyal, though it is an odd use of public relations. "Public relations" usually refers to the way something you do effects your public reputation, not what you are.
     
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