RealNews

Reshaping Message on Terror, Ridge Urges Calm With Caution

A week after his warnings about terror threats touched off a buying spree of duct tape and plastic sheeting, Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland security, tried today to recalibrate his message, urging calm while still imploring Americans to take precautions. Addressing a group of police officers, firefighters and service volunteers at a Red Cross office here, Mr. Ridge announced a $1.2 million “ready campaign,” a public relations effort to give citizens easy access to information they need to know during a crisis. The promotional address, delivered with a mix of authoritative weightiness and nonchalant folksiness, underscored the continuing difficulty Mr. Ridge faces as he tries to keep the public informed about domestic threats without inciting a national panic. Mr. Ridge alluded to his struggle over how much to tell the public without sounding alarmist. “It’s not always easy to know the right thing to say or the right thing to do,” he told the audience. Full Story

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