Well, on the one hand, this is laugh out loud, face palm hilarious. On the other hand, these days I think we can use all the help we can get to combat fake news and what it's doing to our society.
Following the findings of a Powell Tate (part of Weber Shandwick) and KRC Research study, which found that 82% of Americans register concern over fake news and 71% say it contributes
to incivility, Weber Shandwick Chief Reputation Strategist Leslie Gaines-Ross said: "People depend upon the truth to understand the world around them. Our research reveals that Americans are
experiencing considerable doubt and confusion over what they are being told, what they are hearing and what they are reading. The marketing and communications industry has an important role in
facilitating solutions that advance trustworthy news and information to all Americans and Weber Shandwick is determined to do what we can to help in the fight against false news."
While she's right, you have to admit it's a bit of a chuckle to position the PR and marketing community as the bastion of truth. After all, both entities are all about selling shit, no matter what the cost. And if bending the truth just a little bit sells more product for them well, the truth will be bent.
It was found in the study that three-quarters of Americans (75%) acknowledge that it is difficult to determine what news is accurate and what is not, and seven in 10 (70%) believe that they have read a fake news story. Perhaps even more troubling, however, is the finding that 71% of respondents think that fake news is contributing to incivility in society. With 69% of Americans believing that our country has a major civility problem, the spread of fake news is clearly having dire consequences. More than half of Americans (58%) believe the level of civility in our nation could be improved if social media sites and search engines curbed fake news.
The real problem? We don't have editors any more. Everyone's a publisher. Anyone can publish whatever they like without consequence. What's the solution? I'm not sure. But I'm not sure it's the marketing and PR industries that will save the day.