Everybody lies and we all know it. We hide, invent or alter events for a variety of reasons: to avoid conflict, to protect relationships or to save reputations. But each individual defines “a lie” in his own way: withholding information, deceiving, omitting facts, misleading alternative beliefs, etc.
In the media, all over television and radio, we often hear interviewees responding to journalists’ questions with NO COMMENT. What do you think about when you hear those words? Do you still believe in what that person has to say?
Personally, in such situations, I tend to question his/her honesty and transparency. On one hand, people choose to say NO COMMENT and withhold information just because they feel the need to play a safe card: saying nothing than answering to a question that you are not prepared to handle; words can destroy careers and reputations. But on the other hand, offering such a vague answer, often leaves room for interpretation. There are many cases when journalists invent facts or provide inaccurate stories about companies or individuals, just because the persons entitled to provide information choose not to. I certainly think that it is better to have an open attitude rather than avoiding communication with the media, as people often believe everything they read in newspapers, and inaccurate facts could damage reputations.
As many would claim, it is acceptable to say NO COMMENT when telling the whole truth would be damaging to a company or an individual. The main question that arises is: Is telling just a part of the truth considered lying? We all know that framing is a tool often used in the PR industry. PR professionals, when communicating to their target audience, often highlight particular aspects of an issue that might interest or appeal to that specific group of people. At the same time, they omit other details considered irrelevant or useless to that audience. Is this considered ethical? It should be. PRs are often in charge with researching and “translating”. They need to know what kind of information interests each group of stakeholders, and how to make that raw data accessible and easy to understand for them.