Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Truth, Not Journalism: Mark Borkowski, who writes about public relations for The Guardian, is the latest to weigh in on Richard Edelman’s comments about blogging as a way to circumvent the media. And Borkowski puts his own spin on Richard’s comments about providing information directly to stakeholders: “What he meant, of course, was that PRs can spin their clients' interests on a blog without any interfering journalists messing up their message by checking the validity of their claims.”

That suggests an idealized view of journalists that I suspect Richard doesn’t share. I know I don’t. I think journalists are far less likely to “check the validity” of a PR person’s claims than they are to simply ignore parts of the story that don’t fit with their journalistic agenda. If you think journalists are interested in checking the validity of claims, go back over a few years of coverage of American politics. Reporters don’t check claims. They repeat them, regardless of their veracity, and then provide “balance” by repeating the claims of the other side.

But more to the point, Borkowski seems to completely misunderstand the blogosphere, which actually does the fact checking job the mainstream media has abandoned. It’s far more difficult to get spin or deception into the blogosphere than it is to get it into the mainstream media. That’s the attraction for someone like Edelman: a medium where everyone gets to ask his or her own questions and make up his or her own mind, rather than being fed a story that a journalist has decided is the absolute truth.

It sounds to me as though Borkowski doesn’t believe people are smart enough to make up their own minds without a journalist to tell them what to think.


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