Media manipulation: It’s a fact, so what do we do about it?2012-08-01
On Monday, I posted a call for certification in the PR profession to establish a basis on which to establish trust between clients, the media and practitioners. If there’s any evidence that the client-media-PR world of a decade ago has changed irrevocably, it’s contained in a 45-minute conversation hosted on Google+ Hangouts on Air today by Duct Tape Marketing‘s John Jantsch. I was honored to be included, along with David Meerman Scott, as a commentator for the debate between Ryan Holiday, author of “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” and Peter Shankman, founder of HARO, one of the resources Holiday manipulated.
Massive warning flags should be plain to see among all stakeholders in this debate. Journalists —even those without journalism backgrounds—need to renew their commitment to fact- and source-checking, even in an era of diminished resources and pressure to publish first and often. The public needs to adopt critical thinking skills that will help them question what they’re seeing and hearing. Communicators need to recognize that outliers operating under the PR banner are engaged opaquely and unethically. Clients need to vet the credentials and practices of the outside PR and marketing help they hire to make sure these agencies and consultants reflect their own values and behave to their standards.
All of which, of course, is far more easily called for than done. The situation isn’t new, only hugely exacerbated beyond the inherent problems that have plagued the media ecosystem for decades. Simply posting in a blog that the public, clients, counselors and journalists need to step up won’t make it happen. What will? At this point, we need to ask the question. I have no idea what the answer is, but the more we talk about it, the better our chances of figuring it out.
Here’s the video of today’s conversation: