Thank you, Ben Silverman, for putting into words what no one else is saying: the fact the PR pros have turned into the information equivalent of bodyguards is because journalists treat everyone like targets.
I know that if I flub an answer then correct it, there’s always the possibility that the flub is what’s going to make the news… as fact. I know that the majority of journalists who interview me or my clients come at us like we’ve done something wrong, even if it’s something they know isn’t true. I know that with staff reductions and increased competition, journalists are under more pressure to create stories that produce ratings or sales or whatever.
Considering this, why would I let my clients go to an interview without rehearsing it first?
What did Ben write?
While Fuchs’ main goal was to slam journalists for not doing their jobs, he also unfairly attacks public relations people, many of whom know how difficult it is to control “a backdating CEO” and “a point guard with a suspect jumper.” What Fuchs does not address is the fact that the subjects of journalists’ questions are often expected to say something brilliant or newsworthy on cue and without notice while talking about sometimes complicated and delicate matters.
More so, journalists have an inherent bias towards asking such subjects questions that are either negative in tone, or are leading. The main problem I have with the state of journalism is the inflexibility of journalists (spurred on by their editors). Journalists, more than PR people, have created a system that forces PR people and news subjects to reply with canned responses. The soundbite was created by the media, not by PR people.