The Facts Are Fiction

By John Moore  |  Posted 2001-04-09 Print this article Print

Memo from PR to journalists: "You can't handle the truth."

In these times of economic upheaval, some PR folks speak in strange tongues. As a public service, Sm@rt Partner decodes the hidden meanings. What follows are a series of common corporate pronouncements and their English translations:

PR Speak: "We deny the charges as baseless."

Translation: We are bending the truth as sharply as possible to prevent employees and stockholders from roasting us on a pyre of the trendy office furniture we insisted on buying.

PR Speak: "This reduction in force will create a flatter organization."

Translation: The guy who waters the ferns now is a direct report to the CEO.

PR Speak: "Executives are not available for comment."

Translation: We havent decided which executives will stay and which will go.

PR Speak: "Restructuring will increase efficiencies."

Translation: Weve rearranged the trendy office furniture on the Titanic.

PR Speak: "The executive left the company to pursue other interests."

Translation: The executive in question was unceremo-niously dumped along a deserted highway whilst strapped to the corporate foosball table.

PR Speak: "The parting was amicable."

Translation: There were a number of fistfights; no one was seriously hurt.

PR Speak: "We have no comment at this time."

Translation: We couldnt concoct a plausible cover story to meet your deadline.

PR Speak: "The company plans to sell strategic assets."

Translation: All the employees have jumped ship, but were willing to cut you a sweet deal on our trendy office furniture.

John writes the Contract Watch column and his own column for the Channel Insider.

John has covered the information-technology industry for 15 years, focusing on government issues, systems integrators, resellers and channel activities. Prior to working with Channel Insider, he was an editor at Smart Partner, and a department editor at Federal Computer Week, a newspaper covering federal information technology. At Federal Computer Week, John covered federal contractors and compiled the publication's annual ranking of the market's top 25 integrators. John also was a senior editor in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Computer Systems News.


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