The other day I signed a new client for the book publicity firm that I work for. The author seems interesting and qualified to speak about his area of expertise. I believe we can get a fair amount of decent media coverage for the book and author brand. But I realize that I’m part of the problem out there, or why disinformation from disreputable people circulates above more accurate information from more qualified sources.
The problem has many layers. First, as a paid promoter, my objectivity goes out the window. I’m a pay-to-say media whore. I draw the line that I won’t purposely promote a lie or someone that I know is lying, but what happens when I don’t know someone is a liar or is speaking half-truths? What obligation, if any, do I have to make sure I’m only promoting facts, or if opinions, ones that I think are acceptable and clearly labeled as opinions?
The other issue is that anyone, including authors, can get access to quality media representation simply because they are willing to pay for it. The news is hijacked by publicists because they know how to sell a message, even one that could turn out to be fake.
The media is doing a poor job at guarding the hen house from the fox. Perhaps it’s because the fox brings them flowers. The media is understaffed and overtaxed. Further, it is compromised by its advertising model. Too many media outlets, especially on TV and radio, have paid arrangements for media coverage. It’s a pay-for-play approach that leaves the consumer exposed to illegitimate messages.
Social media is not the great equalizer. All that it did was create a bigger playground for those who have the means to get a message out. People “buy” followers and “sponsor” tweets and posts.
It all leaves you to wonder what source is reliable and which message is truthful. We always knew that the media acts in the interests of its advertisers and in the political or financial preferences of its ownership. But now the media is also corrupted by outside forces and it doesn’t appear to be improving.
George Orwell, with his prophetic book 1984, predicted we wouldn’t be able to trust in the news media or information that is published, primarily because of a dark government influence. It now appears the real enemy or threat to information and free speech comes from Corporate America, the media itself, and the public relations industry. It doesn’t have to remain this way but it is clear that the public will need to work harder and smarter to uncover, discern, and properly digest facts from fiction, truth from lies, and right from wrong.
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2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit
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