Political spin

Political spin was more sophisticated than business spin for some time. (Business soon caught up.) Now, in Britain at least, it is likely that a straight-forward approach might work well. Will the change be real? Will it spread?

Categories: Culture Wars / Media issues / New PR in Age of Populism / Political spin / Reviews / Trump

21 May 2018

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Media’s lost art of public debate keeps Trump in power

In his just published book – Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth – Howard Kurtz, a former Washington Post columnist, explores how the media became the ‘opposition party’ to an unlikely President. It delivers a compelling account of how,  by refusing to engage in proper debate and resorting instead to insults and fear-mongering, the fourth estate betrayed its historic mission to hold power accountable to the public. He warns that the media’s failure to grapple with the major issues of the day risks damaging their reputation to such an extent that it may never recover. Read on ›

German media scores own goal in the Culture Wars

A just published report from the Hamburg Media School, commissioned by the Otter Brenner Stiftung, accuses the German media of succumbing to steamroller journalism in support of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy in 2015 and early 2016. The researchers looked at 35 000 articles published over a 20-week period. They found that the media ceased being professional regarding the refuge crisis, when they adopted an overwhelmingly emotionally-involved tone in favour of the government’s actions. Read on ›

PR manifesto for combatting the Culture Wars

21st Century PR Issues maintains that within PR circles there is a near-universal conformity governing the industry’s self-destructive, poorly thought-through response to the Culture Wars. In short: the PR business is currently leading clients in the wrong direction. So here is a PR manifesto that sets out how things could be turned around so that we can help our clients keep their end up in the 21st_century Culture Wars. Read on ›

The Culture Wars: a PR perspective

Societies in the 21st century are increasingly defined by rapidly fragmenting socio-cultural outlooks and competing ways of life. Personhood has been politicised and commodified: we have identity politics and firms track our tastes. Whether it is the words we utter, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, or our taste in holidays, music and sport, or how we demarcate our sexual, racial or national identity, cultural chasms and schisms divide us, even as we are supposed to empathise more intensely and widely. Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / Culture Wars / Political spin / Trust and reputations

12 July 2017

2 comments

Bell Pottinger South Africa, a reality check

What unites all the major political parties in South Africa: the African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)? The answer is their determination to divide the country along pre-existing racial fault lines. Yet the DA, South Africa’s main opposition party, has had the audacity to lodge a misconduct claim against Bell Pottinger (BP) with the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association, accusing it of “sow[ing] racial mistrust, hate and race-baiting, and [encouraging a] divided society”.  Read on ›

A brave new world for mass communication

The success of both BREXIT and Trump tells us that the world is changing. Their triumphs mark a transformation of the public’s mood, which is causing the rules governing media schmoozing and managing relations with the masses to be rewritten, as fast as the authority of existing elites evaporates. Read on ›