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September 22, 2005

"Stuck on Stupid"

That's the phrase General Honore has been using with the press that has caught so much attention. Here's the link to Radio Blogger with a transcript.

The General is trying to get the press to report how people can evacuate from this storm, and they are unable to stop talking about the last storm. Here are a few excepts (Gen. Honore speaking)

Let's not get stuck on the last storm. You're asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight.
Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we've got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let's talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

The point he makes about the public communication role of the press is a very good one. A lot of the preventable suffering after Katrina was the result of misinformation and confusion. The press ought not to be contributing to that confusion. They are very much "stuck" as the General says, but stuck, I fear, on a good deal more than "stupid." They are stuck in their role as professional expressers of outrage and placers of blame. They cannot get their minds into the reality of the situation, seeing instead the chessboard on which political forces are always maneuvering for position, and dodging responsibility. While they are trying to parse blame for one disaster they are ready to contribute to confusion about the next one.

I don't know if "stuck on stupid" is a common expression in the General's line of work or home region, but it is certainly apt for this application. he press will very often "play dumb", and ask a question that they very well know the answer to, just to get a reaction out of the interviewee. The General, faced with a second major hurricane in a month, finally said what needed to be said. There is a time for the press to stop pretending to be stupid, as stupid as they think their audience to be, and get with the program. Like it or not they have a role to play as well.

...but the "stuck on stupid" line is here to stay. As Radio Pundit put it:

I think the General just started a movement, and he may not even realize it. Every time a reporter, in any situation, starts spinning, or completely misses the point, they need to be peppered with, "Don't get stuck on stupid." ... I can see the bumper stickers now. I can even see those stupid rubber wristbands with DGSOS etched in them.

I love General Honore.

I think a lot of people are feeling that way.

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Posted by Jay on September 22, 2005 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

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» Leadership and Honore: A Reverse Fisking of "Stuck on Stupid" from Jack Yoest
Lieutenant General Russel Honore gave a press conference today that will be long remembered and will become a part of media relations folklore. Your Business Blogger has been on both sides of the microphone at a few press conferences. Permit... [Read More]

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» Leadership and Honore: A Reverse Fisking of "Stuck on Stupid" from Jack Yoest
Lieutenant General Russel Honore gave a press conference today that will be long remembered and will become a part of media relations folklore. Your Business Blogger has been on both sides of the microphone at a few press conferences. Permit... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 22, 2005 7:00:43 AM

Comments

https://www.angelfire.com/ky/kentuckydan/CommitteesofCorrespondence/index.blog?entry_id=1088203

"You are stuck on stupid, I’m not going to answer that question”

- - General Honore to reporter."

But then this is not the first time

LT. GENERAL RUSSEL "RAGIN CAJUN" HONORE TAKES THE PRESS TO THE WOODSHED

"That's B.S. It's B.S.," Honore raged.

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