Weingarten: PR teeters on a ludicrous lie to clients


Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten

Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten has gotten fed-up with PR people and is taking his beef public. In a May 6, column, Weingarten wrote, “Their (PR people) entire existence teeters on a ludicrous lie they tell their clients: that they are tight with the media.”

“To most of the media, communications from PR people are as welcome as mosquitoes at a hemophiliacs’ picnic.”

“A PR pitch tends to be an enthusiastic description of a product or service that is so lame it actually needs the help of a PR professional. As pitches go, they’re particularly slimy — not like spitballs so much as snotballs. Loogieballs,” in Weingarten’s words.

Bravo! More professional journalists need to speak out, as well, about the pervasive fear that many if not most PR people have of actual contact with the media and PR’s widespread ineptness about how to present a legitimate and timely news story to the media.

I see it often … a PR firm lies to a client about tight connections with the media, and then, uses a press release distribution service to blanket the media’s email in-boxes with more meaningless and misdirected spam.

Will the PR industry hear and heed Weingarten’s warning? Probably not. PR people I know are too busy billing clients to read newspapers much less ever talk with a reporter.