Fake News & The PR Professional

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 in The Flack | No Comments

IABC New York recently convened a panel exploring the subject of fake news and, specifically, its relevance (and danger) to the public relations professional. Joining the session, held at Fleishman-Hillard’s NYC offices, were: FH executive and former New York Times veteran editor Tim Race,  Brett Lofgren, President, North America and Global CRO of NewsWhip and PR industry veteran Peter Himler, founding principal of Flatiron Communications. It was moderated by New York IABC chief Andrew Tingley.

The write-up is posted here.

One point Himler made that wasn’t reflected in the report is that the term “fake news” is not so easily defined. When a company forms an opaque advocacy group or pays a “think tank” to create and disseminate specious content to advance its goals, is that considered “fake news?” (Think ExxonMobil and climate change.)

This has evolved to today when state actors, including sadly, this Administration, actually create and disseminate knowingly false stories to prevail upon the court of public opinion. What’s preventing companies from doing the same thing to stifle a competitor: shareholders, consumers, employees? Maybe. (Consider Uber’s bare-knuckled tactics.)

Fake food for thought.

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