Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a panel titled “The Role of the PR Practitioner in the Era of Fake News” that was arranged and hosted by the Detroit chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
As a PR practitioner and concerned citizen, fake news is always on my mind. It’s a topic that is not going away and will only gain more scrutiny as we go through more election cycles and continue to rely on our Facebook friends to tell us what is happening in our communities.
I consider it my duty to tell friends and family members they are sharing fake news when it warrants, even if it means I sound like a jerk. The ability for the media to remain trusted and relevant is important for the public, and not just because my job sort of depends on it.
A free and fair media is a core tenet our country was founded on and I want to fight for it.
So, when I heard about this panel, it was not a difficult decision to attend, and I’m glad I did.
On the panel was Ron Fournier, editor, Crain’s Detroit Business (and fellow University of Detroit-Mercy alum!); Matt Friedman, co-founder of Tanner Friedman; and Taylar Kobylas, a PR professional who works for Finn Partners in Detroit.
What follows are nine quotes I tweeted during the panel, from the panelists, that accurately sum up the gist of the discussion. For the record, I will be using the term “cognitive miser” as much as possible in everyday discussions.
“People are cognitive misers. We use pre-existing cognitive beliefs to decide what information to accept or reject.”
“In this day, when the truth is pragmatic, it’s important to tell people there is another way to think about it (the truth).”
“Fake news is not new. What’s changed is the media and how we consume news.”
“Fake facts are being pushed on the public. Those who can say it’s fake (the media) have been discredited.”
“If all we talk about is how excited we are to leverage synergies, how can we (PR pros) earn the public’s trust?”
“Nobody should get their news from social media, they should get their news via social media.”
“We have to learn to be intellectual gleaners and have the courage to confront our biases.”
“Cable news has become pro wrestling.”
“Fake news is a social issue. We have to decide, as a people, to be skeptical.”