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Donald Trump, Tyson Fury and Free Speech

 “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about”

said Oscar Wilde;

“and that is not being talked about”.

So let’s talk about Donald Trump, Alistair Carmichael and Tyson Fury.

A businessman-turned-politician, former Secretary of State for Scotland and world champion boxer.

Each hit the headlines in December for things they said.

But only one courted the publicity while the other two would – I can only imagine – rather have avoided it.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Trump meant to hit the headlines with his comments on banning Muslims from entering America.

It was intended – pre–written – calculated for maximum impact.

He got it.

His remarks were headline news across the world.

They divided opinion.

Hundreds of thousands signed a petition calling on him to be banned from entering Britain.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon withdrew his GlobalScot ambassadorial status – and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen took back their honorary doctorate.

I doubt he lost sleep over either.

Alistair Carmichael

As a former Secretary of State for Scotland, you’d expect Alistair Carmichael to tell the truth.

But he lied in a TV interview denying involvement in a pre-election leak of misinformation about the First Minister wanting David Cameron to take the keys to 10 Downing Street.

Carmichael was clearly delighted to win a legal ruling that went his way…having admitted lying.

He was regretful – but only about the money he’d spent defending his shattered reputation.

It was all a political plot, he suggested.

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury caught our attention firstly by defeating the man-monster Wladimir Klitschko…the first time the defending world champion had been beaten in the ring for a decade.

Wvladimir Klitschko

Wvladimir Klitschko

But then the boxer had another fight on his hands, having made what were deemed to be homophobic, racist and sexist remarks in subsequent interviews.

“I’m not homophobic, I’m not racist, I’m not sexist”

he confirmed in another interview….in a triple Pink Elephant.

That’s when you use an unnecessary negative to explain yourself, creating the exact opposite image in your audience’s mind.

All of the above have used the media to either create waves or attempt to subdue them this week.

As we say on our media training and presentation skills courses – mainly at our Glasgow studios – you have to deal with the media before it deals with you.

Once political statements, lies and ill-judged remarks are out there you either need to defend them, retract them or explain them away.

But then the media is available for that, free of charge.

Now while I abhor the remarks of Donald Trump, the lies of Alistair Carmichael and the – in my view – homophobic, sexist and racist opinions of Tyson Fury, I can only debate them because of two things:

Freedom of speech – and a UK media free to report far out comments.

Pink Elephant Comms - Only thing worse than not being talked about - Free speech 2 (2)

Many countries have state-controlled, state censored media.

Only views in line with those of the state are aired.

I for one would refuse to sign the petition banning Trump from the UK.

Let him come here and talk nonsense.

As long as all of us are allowed to put forward more reasonable viewpoints.

My view was the same when others wanted to silence radical clerics in the past.

We just need the courage to speak up in reply – which is what we encourage strongly in our media training courses in Glasgow and around the world.

I take it for granted that I can write my views here in this blog without censorship or fear of reprisal.

But it’s a privilege that comes only in a free and democratic country.

Now, if you agree or disagree with what I’m saying – post a comment.

I may reserve the right to reply to you…but I’ll always respect your right to speak up.

It’s a right many have died for in the past.

But only by having freedom of speech can we truly be free.

Bill McFarlan is managing director of media training and presentation skills training firm Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.

You can view his full profile here.

Photo credit: Vuxicon via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: HonestReporting.com via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

12th December 2015 Featured in: Blog By:

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