Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Rescue of the Chilean miners is a public relations operation

In the UK, our public figures do not miss an opportunity to comment on the issues of the day, no matter how trivial. If it means they can get in the media or win a vote, they will do it.

What better example than Gordon Brown wading in to the 2008 Brand-Ross scandal http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/oct/28/gordon-brown-russell-brand-jonathan-ross

So it should be no surprise to see the President of Chile live on Chilean news and around the world tonight as the trapped miners emerge from the subterranean prison after two long and dangerous months.

Neither should the mountain side media center and choreographed celebration shock us, it's a rare chance for the world to see Chile and they deserve a smooth PR operation to facilitate this.

It's not that the Chileans are taking advantage, they are simply following the tried and tested public relations exercises Western governments have used for years; often in cringe-worthy circumstances or in moments of national sorrow such as Tony Blair during the aftermath of Diana's passing.

Only this event is set to be a celebration, the victory of life over certain death. It's also one with huge commercial benefits to Chile as a nation and will see the miners transformed into celebrities, even as I write this.

So don't blame Chile as we lap up the coverage, admire their shrewdness. And let's hope that none of the miners leave a part of themselves when they emerge to deal with what is now a very different world than the one they used to live in.

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