A tried and true method of reaching audiences

There has always been a very effective way of reaching and convincing audiences of your messages – find a trusted third party to deliver them.

Despite the advent of fake news and social media the principle still holds. If anyone doubts it think about who you listen to when buying a major item – advertisers, social media or some person in your office or family who knows everything there is to know about cars, TVs, computers or whatever. read more

Methodism, Marx, cooperatives and conspiracies

Since Morgan Phillips coined the phrase that Labour owed “more to Methodism than Marx” it has been repeated by many others – from Harold Wilson to Barry Jones. But what if the catchy alliteration is wrong?

Race Mathews’ new book, Of Labour and Liberty, shifts the focus from Methodism back to the co-operative or distributist ideas of Robert Owen and a long Catholic tradition starting with the Papal encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo through to the work and words of Cardinals Manning in England and Moran in Australia. read more

Two encouraging developments about fake news

There are two very encouraging developments on the fake news front. The first is the emergence of a fail-safe system of evaluating the truth about a claim. It works very simply – if a politician or anyone else immediately brands any claim, accusation or information ‘fake news’ one can automatically conclude that the claim, accusation or information is true and correct. read more

Taking a break…but in the meantime some odds and sods

The blog is taking a break – not for maintenance this time – but while it’s away here are some odds and sods which have caught its attention lately.

PR ethics

Given the controversy over the PR company Bell Pottinger’s issues it is worth noting that the UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) set up an ethics hotline some two years ago to provide advice to members on ethical questions. So far it has received nine calls. It should be said that Bell Pottinger was a member of the UK industry body, not the CIPR, although individual employees may be CIPR members. read more

Convincing media opinion leaders that climate matters

No one will ever convince the US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt, of the reality of climate change. Well at least while he stays in the pocket of the Koch brothers and the administration as a whole continues to be staffed by former lobbyists who have gone from spreading climate change denial propaganda to being put in charge of decisions on the problem. read more

The Bully Pulpit and the shaping of US public policy

The Bully Pulpit has been a US term for presidential speeches which seek to influence, define or shape public policy.

The phrase was coined by Teddy Roosevelt to describe an excellent platform for his reform agenda. At the time the word ‘bully’, one often used by Roosevelt, conveyed the sense of superb or wonderful rather than something which might describe a Trump tweet. read more

A guest appearance

The blog’s neighbour, friend and former client manages to get lots of letters published in The Age along with a number of other regulars who obviously strike a chord with whoever is left on the outsourced letters page subs desk.

He sent the blog copy of his latest, not expecting it to get a run in The Age, but the blog thought it was worth a mention particularly given that the ‘little lying rodent’ –  as one of his colleagues called him – is re-emerging like a creature from the Black Lagoon to join his acolyte, Tony Abbot (sic), on the same sex marriage campaign trail. read more

Facts, fact checking and perceptions

The last blog post focussed on the resilience of facts and how online search can generally uncover them. However, a distinction needs to be drawn between searching for facts and how facts and news are received.

The distinction is important when it comes to how people respond to online news feeds, how they select them, and how effective the various fact checking services attached to some of the services actually are. Arguably, however, while these issues are important they are neither new nor are they simply the product of the proliferation of online media. read more

An insider’s view of how public relations really works