Public Relations: A corporate practice designed to maintain the illusion of:
- news reporting;
- participation and consultation;
while seeking to look good (Image management), and if possible exercise control and certainty for the paying client.
Absolute control and certainty is never really possible however PR works pretty well to shape the beliefs and behaviors of the ‘targeted public’. This makes a good working definition of propaganda.
It should be no surprise that the rise of Public Relations firms has coincided with greater demands for Governments and business (Corporates) to consult on issues and projects affecting citizens. Any increase in power the citizen feels is offset by the increased levels of spin and propaganda commissioned by Corporate organizations in an attempt to redress the power balance and maintain the status quo. This strategy seems to work and so will continue for the foreseeable future.
PR is great at manufacturing and distributing memes. Memes do not need to be true, just interesting, gossipy and with the possibility they are true.
Using PR to discredit a politician involves using bad photos, impugning motives, highlighting inconsistencies and holding them responsible for operational failings (See Ministerials). Do the opposite to support a politician. Present this as news. It helps PR support of a politician when the politician can lie and be inconsistent without guilt or shame.
Peter O’Reilly ©