Until 2016, the term “fake news” referred to little more than pranks played by parody news blogs. For the most part, these fake news pieces were harmless. We debunked them. We laughed at our gullibility. We moved on.
A New Era
With the coming presidential election, fake news took on a whole new meaning. Fake news was now a phrase loaded with political undertones. Through fake news, accusations flew from one presidential candidate to the next, with the public caught in the middle.
Then, commercial entities got involved. PR stunts posed as genuine stories that went viral, and contributed to much of the confusion.
America and the world at large began to distrust the media. It was increasingly difficult to tell what was real, what was a marketing ploy, and what was just underhanded political tactics.
Who’s to Blame?
News agencies have been blamed for this more often than not. But most of the blame really belongs to public relations and marketing professionals. Yes. We said it.
Earlier this month, Founder & Managing Director, Alexis Chateau, shared her experiences with fake news pitches from clients in 2016, and how she dealt with them. Some had $800 price tags as a consequence, but integrity is priceless.
Read the full story here: The Big Question: How PR Pros Can Fight Fake News
The Fight Against Fake News
PR professionals want nothing but the best for our clients. After all, success for a client translates into success for a PR firm, and the team behind it.
Who doesn’t want to say their client’s ad went viral? That the author they represented became a bestseller? Or that the company had an unprecedented spike in sales, thanks to one very creative campaign?
But at what cost? As PR professionals, it’s time we hold ourselves – and our clients – to higher ethical standards.
Are you a PR & marketing professional or writer who was asked to create fake news? How did you handle the request? What is your advice for other professionals faced with this dilemma?
Sound off in the comments below!