This is not a Trump rant (or gloat), you'll be happy to know...
...but a look at how "the media" - an expansive term covering a universe of journalists, editors, mainstream titles, fake news sites, clickbait content aggregators, local papers, talk radio hosts, PJ bloggers, pollsters, hackers, leakers and pundits, among many others, got so much wrong about the 2016 US election.
It's almost impossible to examine this objectively - our biases creep into everything and anything we can find on the topic - they're biased! the elites are out of touch! they're low-information voters!
But it's an important issue to consider - as voters, as citizens, and for those of us in the PR business, as professionals.
I'll leave it to others to comment on the demise of the media and its impact on voting and citizenship, although these are of grave concern to me. I watched my grandfather's small-town newspaper wither and die over the 90's and early 2000s - not because of digital alternatives but because a big-box retail chain plopped down just outside of town, more or less killing local businesses and cutting off advertising revenue. It wasn't just the paper that suffered.
For PR professionals, the questions are more mundane, but still important.
As journalism erodes, and the confidence placed in 'earned media content' erodes with it, our value as consultants, navigators and creatives diminishes too.
Some will say without cynicism that a fragmented, chaotic media environment creates opportunities for experienced guides like us.
Maybe. But there's not much experience to draw from in our present uncharted territory, and when trust gets hard to earn, there's a temptation to buy it. And that's advertising, not PR - and the supply for advertising budgets is finite, too, as my grandfather learned.
So. I don't know the answers or even the questions. But simply watching the bonds fray between "the media" and society is no longer academic.
What do you think?
(Thanks Stuart Bruce for flagging the article below, too).
But I’ve come to think that the rise of fake news — and of the cheap-to-run, ideologically driven aggregator sites that are only a few steps up from fake — has weaponized those filter bubbles. There were just too many people voting in this election because they were infuriated by made-up things they read online.