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A couple of high-profile incidents last week once again raised questions as to whether PR is, in effect, “controlling” the national media. Personally, I don’t buy that notion, but the facts do bear some soul-searching.
The week began with a new website, Churnalism.com, aimed at exposing how the British media falls prey to PR’s supposedly sinister efforts to promote client agendas at the expense of fact-based reporting. Essentially, you paste a press release into the site’s search engine and it provides a percentage of that release that appeared, verbatim, in the UK national media. PRWeek (UK) has full coverage and commentary.
Also last Monday, a scathing article in POLITICO reported that Kurt Bardella, deputy communications director for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), was leaking private e-mails from certain journalists to a New York Times reporter who is writing a book on Capitol Hill journalism. The hub-bub around that story quickly escalated, and Bardella was summarily fired (rightly so, IMO). Continue reading