PR Industry Has Been In Fake News Business For Years
Fake news is a hot topic since the 2016 US Election. But in reality, fake news is nothing new. It’s not even news.
The PR industry – or the PRublicity industry, as I call it – has been in the business of fake news and alternative facts for at least the last two decades. The PR industry has made fake news its specialism using alternative facts as the basis for almost every press release it distributes.
Fake news is so embedded in the industry that it can’t tell the difference any more.
PR ‘pros’ have made fake news and alternative facts their specialism
Think about it. Every headline that promoted their industry “leading” client’s “unique”, “game-changing” or “best-in-breed” product or service, without any proof was fake news. Most PR agency news story based upon a release that hasn’t been fact-checked, is likely fake news. Fake news created by releases full of alternative facts.
But news releases are validated because they often have testimonial quotes, right? Wrong! Have you ever wondered who writes the testimonial? It’s likely not the person to whom it is attributed. Chances are it was written by a PR ‘pro’ or the client marketing manager. It was then provided to the person being “quoted” to make sure they are comfortable with it. Comfortable is usually the intersection where there’s nothing outrageous but also nothing very specific.
It creates the right impression without being a wholehearted endorsement.
These testimonials are also often sought at the start of a customer relationship – during the honeymoon period. A customer is excited to buy but without the benefit of having experienced the product or service for long enough to have a full understanding of the value.
The rise of fake news services
I suspect that in 2017 PR firms will start offering fake news services. Secretly. Without drawing attention to it, for fear it would draw comparisons to the fake news services they are already selling for thousands of dollars a month. If you want to see how it’s done well read Ryan Holiday‘s excellent book, “Trust Me, I’m lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator“.
It explains how alternative facts turn in to fake news to promote a client’s agenda.