Thinking Like an Attorney
You're the senior assistant Palo Alto city attorney, Grant Kolling, whose been handed the unwelcome task of breaking it to the citizens that your city will be paying $21.5 million to Enron for breech of contract. Oh the indignity of actually PAYING those crooks. How do you ease the pain of that message? Two thoughts come to mind and you begin to play around with a couple of statements.
"In a perfect world, given the outrageous conduct of Enron, we shouldn't have to pay a dime...I think anyone who has done business with Enron feels the same way."
But then it occurs to you that this begs the question "so why did the city pay"? Aha! You'll deflect criticism and tell them that by negotiating, Palo Alto only has to pay less than half of what the city was on the hook for--such a deal.
"In my opinion, this is a pretty good settlement for the city."Which message should you give...one contradicts the other. Wait, you think, why do you have to be consistent--confuse 'em--give both messages. Make everyone happy.