What role should PR play in the Trump/media war?

Public relations heavyweights weigh in on how the industry stands to lose by staying on the sidelines, along with what approaches might benefit itself and public discourse as a whole.

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The Trump/media war continues.

The latest elements include barring live coverage of White House press briefings and a video showing him tackling and beating someone wearing a CNN logo.

The PR community has long been aware of this battle, which is doing neither the participants nor the country any good. Lacking is any PR input, which normally takes the rough edges off the relations that business and government have with members of the press.

At a recent industry event, Dick Martin, a retired vice president at AT&T, sketched a role for PR and its leading trade associations.

The industry, he said, should set up a PR counterpart to the Ad Council, which has created public interest campaigns for 75 years.

Associations must start with themselves

Before lecturing others on good press relations, the groups should look in the mirror and ask how open and cooperative they are with PR and general reporters. They should be setting an example. Several questions arise:

In his address, Martin noted that although PR has credibility problems, so do news outlets. “Public communications is at a dangerous tipping point,” he said.

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