30 May 2011

Will Blatter's barmy contrast live on to haunt FIFA?

On this blog and in my books, I've written quite a lot about how rhetorical techniques can trigger applause and are likely to be singled out by the media as soundbites for reporting to wider audiences.

One of the most powerful techniques is the contrast, as is exemplified by some of the most famous quotations of all times - ranging from "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" through "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country" to "You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning."

Today, from FIFA president Sepp Blatter we heard another (above). We are not in a crisis. We are only in some difficulties may not have triggered any applause, but it was a line that began to circulate on Twitter within seconds of the words coming out of his mouth.

I'll be very surprised if sundry tweets will be the last we hear of it - which is why I'm looking forward to checking out tomorrow's newspapers...

P.S. Shortly after writing this, the lead headline on the BBC website was "Fifa is not in crisis - Blatter", which is the first of what I expect to be a lot of media quotes of part or all of this particular contrast.

P.P.S. Tuesday, 31 May: the line was also picked up by the Daily Mirror, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun and The Times (if you can get behind the paywall).

Also on Blatter:

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