By: David Berlin
Every legal brief starts with a section called “Statement of Facts.” In law school you’re taught that the statement of facts should be written in a way that benefits the side you are advocating for. It sounds simple enough but there is an art to it. You can’t omit every fact that is bad for your side or you will lose your credibility with the judge. You can’t change or even stretch the facts or you might be disbarred.
What you can do is stress the facts that work for you. You can place bad facts in the middle of a paragraph surrounded by good facts. If your client is suspected of cheating on her husband, you can refer to her as Mrs. Smith instead of Sally Smith to emphasize that she is committed to family values. You get the idea.
The law profession obviously isn’t the only industry to refine this Jedi mind trick. PR people are pretty good at it too. And one particular type of PR person I really have to take my hat off to - the “reporters” who write for professional sports team official websites. No, they don’t make $500 an hour. But they really ought to.
Just as foliage is most brilliant in Fall, team “news” stories really peak at the beginning and end of a sports season, when the quasi-reporters are ginning up support or are in full-blown damage control.