PR, Nixon's nemesis, and the Latest from Washington
An interesting week in the news, for sure.
This from Jack O'Dwyer's PR-industry newsletter, which I hadn't seen before but picked up at a PRSA event in New York. (I'm actually writing this from New York, in fact--where Book Expo America starts tomorrow.) O'Dwyer reports that the White House press corps, tired of their role as "props," boycotted a May 23 press conference with President Bush and Afghani President Hamid Karzai--because the events are so tightly controlled that they're only allowed two questions. I imagine they mean two questions total, rather than two apiece.
So as usual, the Bush administration appears to be afraid of an open and free press, and for once the 5th Estate is showing a little muscle. More power to them! The charade that has passed for Washington journalism the last few years is badly in need of a shakeup.
This is a particularly nice nugget considering that after 33 years, we've learned the identity of Deep Throat--the most vivid case study for the idea that undisclosed sources have a place in legitimate mainstream journalism, and that journalism has a responsibility to investigate the powers-that-be. To my knowledge, no one has ever challenged the authenticity of Mark Felt's reports back then, and for 33 years, his identity was unknown. He helped to bring down a crooked government, and it wouldn't have happened if journalists Woodward and Bernstein had been forced to disclose their sources.
Newsweek, are you listening? (See my two previous blog entries, May 18 and 25)
The same newsletter also bore an item about the PR industry, trust, and the bill that was passed forcing media to identify government video news releases (VNRs, a/k/a/ propaganda) when they use them: A little spat between the president of PRSA and a former PRSA/NY board member, in which the latter said that the former's contention that PR has a high level of trust (and didn't need regulation of VNRs) was ridiculous.