Tuesday, December 18, 2007


This abstract points to an interesting time in American history when newspapers were opinionated, partisan rags without any semblance of objectivity. We forget today that the concept of a modern newspaper is little more than 100 years old. We talk about third-party credibility from journalists, but it didn't exist when they were paid off by publicity flacks, as they were when the modern PR business began. Persuasion was a few bucks in an envelope. The PR business "got religion" late and cannot hold its standards too high for others to admire.

The venality of the news business was such that I get impatient when I see people misinterpret the past. There was an editorial cartoon yesterday in the newspaper that showed the Federalist Papers and Thomas Paine as "Then" and a TV set with Oprah Winfrey as "Now." Nothing could be farther from the truth. The newspapers of "Then" were far worse than the most partisan press of "Now."

We may talk about unpaid persuasion in PR, but we should remember where we came from and never get too proud of our past.


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