Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Watch this. It is comedian John Oliver's attack on sponsored content online, and the satire is devastating. He first defines the difference between Church and State as it has existed in the media for much of the 20th Century then he shows how the line has blurred between the two since the rise of the internet. The humor is scatological, but the points he makes aren't. PR practitioners, especially, should be worried about the blending of advertisement and editorial. The power of PR depends on impartial media who confer credibility by independent reporting. If online news gathering becomes pay-for-play, there isn't much reason for media relations. Simply fork over the money and watch them write. That can be done by any media buyer. Aside from a threat to PR, the increasingly foggy distinction between Church and State in the media takes a hammer to the credibility of the media as well. Newsrooms know that if publishers do not. There is room for more satire on this subject, but it would be better if publishers restored the bright line sooner rather than later.