As the adage goes, a lie races around the world in the time it takes the truth to put its shoes on.
Shortly after the 2016 US Presidential election, America’s interest in “fake news” spiked. This was fueled in part because some people believed fake news may have influenced the election in some way. People are deeply concerned about fake news, and the news media has generated a good deal of coverage about this topic.
One of the core activities of Public Relations is to obtain coverage for brands in the media. Media coverage has always had value because the public trusted what they read as independent third-party endorsement from the media. However, in the USA trust in the media is waning. What happens to the value of PR when our brands, our clients might find themselves under attack by a news story which has no basis in truth.
According to polling company Gallup, Americans’ trust in mass media has dropped to a new low in 2016, with only 32 percent of U.S. adults expressing at least a fair amount of confidence in the mainstream media to deliver an unbiased chronicle of current affairs. Not surprisingly the Gallup reports that the level of trust in the media varies considerably depending on political inclinations. In the USA Republicans have traditionally viewed the mainstream media more critically than Democrats, the divergence in how both groups assess the press has never been greater. Just 14 percent of Republicans expressed their trust in the media prior to Donald Trump’s election in November while 50 percent of Democrats felt the media was reporting fairly and accurately. Following Trump’s repeated attacks against the “failing” and “dishonest” press, it can only be assumed that the level of trust among his supporters has fallen even further since the poll was conducted in September 2016.
What can we do about it? At OOKII we devote time and effort to promote real news. We must be honest with not only ourselves, but also our stakeholders, and our clients. As consumers of news, we must support the legitimate news outlets which we want to see survive this storm and ultimately thrive.
First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company