Remember the classic line from the movie ‘Network?’ I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore’
was shouted by newscasters and news viewers alike in response to the demise of serious news coverage in favor of ‘happy talk.’
Well, I feel the very same way after seeing some high and mighty media types take potshots at public relations professionals.
Everyone and their brother has already weighed in on Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson ‘outing’ 300 or so publicists who annoyed him with e-mail pitches.
Now, there’s Gene Weingarten writing in the Washington Post and beating the bejesus out of PR once again. Like his Wired peer, Weingarten bitches about voice and e-mail messages from PR people. Rather than out specific ‘flacks’ though, he decides to instead publish his answers to one firm’s queries aimed at updating his profile in their database.
In his incredibly barbed, published response, Weingarten crucifies PR. To wit:
– In explaining his specific ‘beat,’ he says it: ‘…mostly involves ripping PR professionals a new one.’
– In decrying some perceived coupling between PR and marketing, he says ‘the unholy alliance between PR and the soulless marketing industry…makes the team of Hitler-Mussolini seem benevolent.’
– And, asked what tips he’d give PR professionals who may want to contact him, the always affable Weingarten says, ‘I encourage midnight visits to my home by PR professionals who have no immediate relatives or close friends.’
Weingarten and Anderson are bullies. Pure and simple.
They know they’re in the power position over PR people, so they take
advantage by belittling them in nasty, public forums. In fact,
Weingarten is to PR people what the Stalin-like state trooper is to the
average speeder: mean, menacing and malicious.
We need to stand up to these media bullies and call their bluff. So,
Messrs. Weingarten and Anderson, I want you to know that I’m mad as
hell and not going to take it anymore.
While I can’t take much action beyond writing this blog, I’ll be sure
to keep my eyes open for one of your resumes. Why? Because I’m
confident that one day soon one or both of you will follow the lead of
far more talented journalists and, yes, join that whipping post of a
profession otherwise known as public relations.
MSP: Not surprisingly, you interpreted today’s blog. It was not a defense of the PR industry, but rather a counterattack aimed at media bullies. Whether it’s toll booth collectors, division of motor vehicle employees, med supply executives or reporters, certain people like to take advantage of the ‘power’ position in which they find themselves. And, as happened in this case, they abuse that power by beating up on ‘weaker’ individuals. It’s a nasty thing to do, I-man, and speaks poorly of the individuals who do it.
MSE, are you CRAZY?
The top 20 accounting, tax and advisory firms in the nation have PR counsel. They ARE beating their own drums and I know this because I represent a few of them. Employment lawyers, too.
You don’t deserve a seat at the table. You need a highchair.
Hear, hear! You may be interested in my post awhile back on the “Top 10 Reasons Not to Hate PR People.” I too am sick of it all.
as an outsider, i find this one very interesting. why is it that you pr folks always talk about “getting that seat at the table” or “doing pr for the pr industry.” that just confirms one thing- that your spinning is recognized by everyone except yourselves.
have you EVER seen accountants, lawyers, doctors, or even med supply guys banging their own drums saying how important they are? the fact that you need to tell the world or even people in your industry how important you are says it all…
Steve, I’m mad as hell, too, and not going to take it anymore! Part of my job as PRSA Chicago immediate past-president in 2008 is to create an advocacy group for the organization. I’m tired of one of two bad eggs making the rest of us look bad. I’m tired of going to parties, telling people what I do, and have them say, “Oh. You spin for a living.” NO I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT. Let’s do some PR for the PR industry…one city at a time.
Watch out world, the rep man has come out swinging. He is mad and is not going to take it anymore; too bad his 5 readers other than his employees don’t really care one bit
Steve you go boy! Also just something for the Mr. Weingarten to chew on, our firm recently released a survey of business journalist and found that 89 percent say they tap into public relations contacts for story ideas. In addition, 90 percent get story ideas from news releases and more than three out of four journalists (79 percent) report finding story ideas on newswires! Those in the Fourth Estate should not throw stones at PR folks, because they have MANY MANY glass windows!
I completely agree with you. It’s sad that these individuals have so much anger toward PR firms, and they certainly don’t have to take advantage of what we bring to their industry. That’s their right. But, they would be much more professional if they kept this to themselves. Screaming publicly about PR people just reinforces how ignorant they are about our role in their industry. It’s a shame that they have stooped to this level.
I would like to point out in that in my more than 20 years as a PR professional, I have had the privilege of working with truly wonderful reporters, editors and producers who understand this symbiotic relationship. It’s not a perfect world…there are PR people who don’t do a good job and there are reporters and producers who also do a poor job.
However, my experience has largely been excellent. The good reporters and producers know that we bring them stories that map to their beats and we bring them all the information to help them do their job. We’ve also been able to give exclusives and advances to certain reporters/producers and, I know for a fact, that this has helped some with their careers.
Trust me…there are some awful reporters and producers I have worked with in the past as well. But, I would never ever be unprofessional and point them out. It doesn’t help them indivdiually nor does it help their industry.
It’s sad to see how childish and absurd some “professionals” are.
Someone ought to search for his home address and knock on his door at midnight. Just as the “doctor” ordered.