P-Noy, bidders, Mike: tricks of persuasion

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

LOOK what they taught in college, which should make us wary about when we read or hear them now:

l When President Aquino said he didn’t want Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to quit because he wanted him in his Cabinet, it was, back in school, “circular reasoning”: the reason given is the same matter being explained. A trick of persuasion Palace communicators unabashedly used.

l In the dispute on the multibillion-peso Mactan-Cebu airport project, each top bidder spotlighted issues that favored it, to the exclusion of most things else.


GMR-Megawide focused on price and regularity of bidding while Filinvest-Changi Airport harped on conflict of interest and weak financial standing and track record of its rival. In school, it was named “filtering.”

l Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has been pounding on alleged obstructionism of the City Council and its slavishness to BOPK’s boss. “Labelling” often works, especially when repeatedly done with emotional “trigger words.”

l Critics of central government’s response to typhoon Yolanda harped on helplessness of survivors and stench of corpses on Tacloban streets: appealing largely to sentiment, not reasoning. “Emotionalizing” works when people react heatedly to sparse information.


Each day, competing interests out to win public opinion or sympathy bombard us with empty or distorted statements, over-generalizations, half-truths and similar deceits.

Surviving assault of devices of persuasion can be tough indeed. What should help:

scraps of college learning or, if none of that, common sense.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2014.


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