Are we actually living in a post-factual world? Our president-elect Donald Trump doesn’t make disproving this idea any easier. The next leader of our country not only stretches the truth, but flat-out makes up facts to align with his agenda.
News organizations are in the process of trying to decide if and how to cover Trump’s tweets. It isn’t information. It isn’t real news. It’s propaganda. Part of the purpose I see of the media covering Trump’s tweets are to keep him in check.
A more recent debacle was in a tweet on Nov. 27: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
First question: Where is the proof that people voted illegally? Second question: Why is it so certain that the illegal votes were for Clinton and not Trump?
The media isn’t the only field under fire.
“It is the end of mass persuasion,” according to the Forbes article, Public Relations in a Post-Factual Fake News World. Americans are no longer dependent on facts to make a decision. They make a decision and then align themselves with the people, ideas and private blogs that reinforce their claims.
For public relations professionals, this means creating “different messages for several different groups for every issue.” Forbes gives this advice for PR professionals:
- Don’t post fake news. If you do accidentally post fake news stories, make sure friends, clients and “important constituents” know the source and information is fake.
- Keep a good rapport with reliable news sources of all walks of life: left, right and anywhere in between.
- Block and ignore social media trolls. They are just angry and will continue to be angry and anything you do or say will make them more angry.
- Finally, don’t expect everyone to agree with you. If you reach half of an audience, you are doing well.
Transparency in this is key, as we talk about in class. Transparency and always holding your own ethics and morals above that of the company or client you work for.
Good luck out there, fellow communications professionals!