St. Louis County police flier for media training seminar a PR mess

The department has apologized for the wording of the flier, which uses terms such as ‘animals’ and ‘gorilla’ to describe the press.

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The St. Louis County police apologized this week for the wording of a flier promoting a seminar meant to help officers “win with the media.”

The phrases “900-pound gorilla” and “feeding the animals” weren’t intended to be racial epithets, seminar leader and police consultant Rick Rosenthal told the Associated Press. The former WGN TV anchor said the terms are “tongue-in-cheek phrases aimed at the media.”

The AP story offers: “[Rosenthal’s] 1999 book, ‘Feeding the Animals,’ deals with how police departments give information to reporters.”

Here’s the official statement from police spokesman Brian Schellman:

Being that the flier was sent by our Police Academy, we apologize for anyone hurt by the wording of the flier. We believe Mr. Rosenthal’s use of the terms “900-pound gorilla” and “feeding the animals” were mentioning police departments from across the nation dealing with the media and meant no racial harm.

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