We often accuse our politicians and the government of lying to us. The untruths that they constantly feed us, usually ably assisted by our mischievous and self-important mass media machine, are sickening but are they really lies?
The PR and media departments of Governments, Corporations, and many other organizations will often use the passive voice to dodge issues of culpability or simply, because they want/need to protect the reputation of their organization.
Consider the following sentences…
- “Certain safety protocols were rendered more flexible in order to maximize productivity.”
- “The company owner cut corners so he could make more money.”
Most people would say the second sentence expresses a clearer and more accurate understanding of what happened, yet the first sentence is much more likely to make it into a press release or annual report.
It’s all about that term we’ve all come to know and loath in recent years…Spin!
Sadly I have to say, not many people have the courage of their convictions to stick to what they have said, rightly or wrongly in the past. Society, especially those in any sort of power within that society, are far too preoccupied with what others think about them. It’s all part of the all too necessary achievement processes involved in our grotesquely self-important aspirational desires. Should we really live our lives like that? Like some competitor in a constant popularity contest?
Again it’s sad that things are that way I suppose. However; if you always remember – Politicians, and others within leadership often talk with forked tongues – you can usually make all that spin a little more bearable…most of the time! 😉
Reference: The above comes from literary advice about writing (The Passive Voice vs. the Active Voice), contained in the How To Write A Book website by Glen C. Strathy.
Glen is the Canadian co-author of The Coming Economic Collapse, a New York Times ‘Bestselling Business Book’ and also author of the novel Dancing on the Inside. He graduated from the Artist in Community Education program at Queen’s University, Kingston. He is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).