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Dangerous hats

Dukakistank2Anyone considering a public relations career should read two books: Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann and The Image by Daniel Boorstin.

Writing in the 1920s, Lippmann explains how "the pictures in our head" define reality for us. Picking the story up in the 1960s, Boorstin shows how easily those pictures can be manipulated to serve someone else's purpose.

Communications strategists have been drawing lessons from those two books for decades. One of the most basic, enshrined in "Politics 101" since the days of Cal Coolidge, is: "Never put your candidate in a hat."

For the story on how a presidential candidate violated and reconfirmed the wisdom of that fundamental rule, see the current issue of Politico magazine. 

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