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Quote of the Day “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute.” --Abraham Lincoln, 1860 JAMM 445 History of Mass Media Week 11: PR, Part 2: Truth Merchants PR since World War II Changes in society create demand for PR: Social responsibility by corporations Consumer activism Complexity of business, government U.S. population growth, mobility Media Dependence on PR PR agencies supply press releases, VNRs, fact sheets, etc. Estimate: 40 to 50% of all news content is PR-inspired Media Dependence on PR “I have a dirty little secret. I like PR people. OK, I don't like all of them, but I must admit that a lot of publicists have helped me in my quest to speak to the right person, set up an interview, give me background info…. The dance between PR person and reporter is one of those push/pull, love/hate relationships….” --Marc Glaser, OnLine Journalism Review PR: Benefits Better understanding of how business, government work Easier access to decision makers by reporters Best way for non-profit groups, advocates to get message out PR: Drawbacks Obstacle to direct contact between voters, elected officials Manipulation of public opinion through selective release of facts Concealment of key data Glossing over bad news PR Critics www.prwatch.org “PR Watch specializes in blowing the lid off today's multi-billion dollar propaganda-for-hire industry, naming names and revealing how public relations wizards concoct and spin the news, organize phony 'grassroots' front groups, spy on citizens, and conspire with lobbyists and politicians to thwart democracy.” –PR Watch Web site VIDEO: Truth Merchants This video examines the constantly shifting and blurred line between "real" news and promotional information designed to look and sound like news in an effort to hide its true entrepreneurial purposes. VIDEO: Truth Merchants As you watch the video, consider: – What’s the difference between good PR and bad PR? – What techniques do ‘spin doctors’ use to conceal PR clients’ true agendas? – What tools would help the public distinguish between information & propaganda?