Let’s stop using the bland, weaselly word “events” when issuing statements to comment on abominable activities such as the January 6 ransacking of the US Capitol.
Events are weddings, birthday parties and ballgames. They are not riots, insurrections and coup attempts.
I first became aware of the misuse of “events” in the aftermath of the World Trade Center/Pentagon terror attacks. Those acts of murder were often called “the events of 9/11,” a description that did not do justice to the horror of that day.
The Business Roundtable issued a scant one-paragraph press release on January 6 that it called a “statement on events in the nation’s capital.”
BR played down the trashing of the Capitol by calling in “the chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital,” which could very well have been a reference to Trump’s four-year reign.
Public Relations Society of America chimed in on January 7 with “A Message from the PRSA Chair on the Events on January 6, 2021.”
Michelle Olson began her eight-paragraph statement with: “As communications professionals, we take pride in our ability to know what to say, and when and how to say it.” That is questionable.
She admitted searching for the “right words as I try to make sense of the unfathomable chaos that took place yesterday.”
The statement buried the lede. Olson hit her stride in the last graph: “We all know that mob mentality is never the right answer and is dangerous, destructive and, tragically, sometime deadly.” I hope readers of the PRSA’s release made it to the final graph.
The National Association of Manufacturers got it right. Its January 6 release is headlined: “Manufacturers Call on Armed Thugs to Cease Violence at Capitol.”
CEO Jay Timmons issued the statement “in response to large groups of armed Trump adherents who have violently stormed the US Capital building as members of Congress meet to count the electoral votes.”
Timmons said: “Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the US Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election.”
He said elected officials cheering Trump on are “violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy” and urged VP Mike Pence to seriously consider invoking the 25th Amendment “to preserve democracy.”
Hats off to NAM and Timmons for pulling no punches.