Headlines screaming “4×4 safety fears” and 4x4s ‘twice as likely’ to roll in crashes contrast with claims 4x4s and MPVs ARE safer. Classic case of rhetoric, with the SMMT press release unsurprisingly supporting the vehicles?
With both sides referencing an independent study for the Highways Agency by the Transport Research Laboratory (trl), it should be easy to check the original source for myself, I thought. (Classic argument of the rhetorical approach to public relations that the public make up their own mind after listening to all sides in a debate)
The media reports all appear to be driven by a common source (a press release or newswire, I imagine), so did any of the journalists writing their headlines review the report? What about SMMT – can it confirm the data supports its viewpoint?
Most likely, the public will believe the screaming headlines as it fits with the anti-4×4 stereotype. I would prefer to see public relations practitioners and media being more open with the source of stories – it couldn’t be easier with online links and websites. It is ridiculous that press releases aren’t available online – even worse that reports such as this cannot be easily found.
Rhetoric? More like propaganda if the public aren’t able to make up their own mind.