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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    The Ethics of Posting Fake News

    February 2, 2012 · 11:42 am

    Fake news, questionable ethics and bad publicity

    The American propagandist and “father of spin” Edward Bernays famously argued that the propaganda efforts which had been so important to the success of the U.S. wartime effort could be equally applied during times of peace and stable government.

    If you follow me on Twitter or stay plugged into the day’s online news feeds, you may already be familiar with the case of Citizenship & Immigration Canada’s fake oath-taking event. If not, CIC staffers, under pressure from the Minister’s office and in cahoots with producers at the Conservative-friendly Sun TV News, orchestrated a make-believe citizenship ceremony for “new Canadians”. The problem is that the majority of the so-called new citizens who attended the event to take their oaths were actually government bureaucrats.

    There are two immediately striking observations to be made here: the first is to question the effort and expense paid by a government department (on the taxpayer’s dime, no less) to organize a media event that was more focused on the production of an image–no matter the substance–than the celebration of real citizenship. That they would do so for a news network that draws very meagre ratings makes it all the more puzzling.

    More importantly, how in the world could the CIC’s senior communications staff (and SunTV producers, for that matter) not have known that this would blow back, making them look either stupid or manipulative? The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which oversees emergency response in the United States, did almost the exact same thing several years ago during the California wild fires and got called out for its efforts in the national media. Either the CIC’s communication strategists didn’t know about the FEMA case or they chose to ignore it. Beyond the unethical nature of the behaviour, neither ignorance or bliss is an acceptable defense when you’re paid to act like a professional.

    The Conservative government already has a reputation for relentless information management. Events like the fake oath-swearing ceremony irritate and agitate the national media, with whom the Tories already have strained relations, not to mention the Twitterati who kept the event trending for most of today. More importantly, events like this one reinforce in the minds of citizens–especially non-supporters–that this is a government for whom spin control has become the norm in communicative practice. While it’s unlikely to have any kind of long-term effects on its own, this event now joins others (and here) in the growing case file of Tory propaganda.

    Fake news, questionable ethics and bad publicity | JOSH GREENBERG
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    U.S. journalist fired for posting "fake" news release on Tumblr detailing his recent job offer

    By Lynn Romero

    On April 5, 2012, Kristopher J. Brooks posted a news release on his personal Tumblr account about a job offer he received the previous day at Delaware’s News Journal Media Group.

    According to media blogger Jim Romenesko, Brooks said, "I didn't do it to showboat. I did it to tell family, friends and ex-co-workers about the next step in my career.”

    Nevertheless, Brooks was subsequently fired from The News Journal for unauthorized use of its logo, and for quoting executive editor David Letford’s hiring-letter in the release, according to Fox Philly.

    Writing for Gawker, Hamilton dared "any reasonable, well-balanced human to find something objectionable in what Khristopher Brooks wrote."

    Brooks is not the first to be punished for his use of social media. According to the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, blogger Chaz Stevens was issued a “cease-and-desist” legal notice from the Florida city of Lauderdale Lakes in February for his critical coverage of the city’s government.

    Also in February, CNN’s Roland Martin was suspended for the homophobic tweets he sent during the Super Bowl.

    For more on journalists who have been punished for their use of social media, see the Knight Center’s twitter feed for Social Media Freedom.


    Posted at 2012-04-12 12:43


    U.S. journalist fired for posting "fake" news release on Tumblr detailing his recent job offer | Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Thinking of Using a Fake News Site? Think Again.
    Posted by Denis Wolcott in November 8th 2011

    Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Denis Wolcott, APR, of the PRSA Los Angeles Chapter. The post is an update to a previous commentary piece he wrote for PRSAY about the ethical concerns of a Los Angeles-area water district agency engaging in fake news production practices to secure positive media coverage.
    Credit The Los Angeles Times for not giving up on a story.

    As much as I hate to see a water agency that does great work remain in the newspaper’s cross hairs, and as much as I hate to see someone in public relations getting slammed in print . . . the public relations profession needs to take notice and learn from this one.
    And, the water district may want to ask for help from PRSA.

    The latest Times story about the Central Basin water district of Southern California is an update to its previous article about the water district’s effort to secure positive coverage. The water district has been in bitter battles with another water district, which also is using deception on the web in attacking Central Basin.

    As this blog wrote when the original story first broke, paying for positive coverage is full of danger.

    The key issue remains disclosure … even more so with the latest Times article.

    The latest Times story raises significant questions about the authors of “news” articles that appeared on a “news” website (that was subsequently removed by Google in its news streams).
    These reporters may be phony.

    The appearance from the story is that the public relations consultant hired by the district used various fake names, bios and photos for articles that he wrote for this “news” website on behalf of his client.

    This certainly raises more damaging questions about the water district’s effort to counter attacks by using some of the same misleading efforts they revile. Knowing The Times was about to do another article, the water district issued a statement about four days before the article was published. The water district challenged The Times to “see how” its response would be used in the article.

    The problem with the statement is that it deals with the underlying issue of the battle between the two water districts, but fails to address the bigger, more damaging issue of credibility and disclosure.

    While Central Basin may feel it has won some arguments with The Times about who exactly paid for what and how the website where positive news stories appeared was created, the latest story continues to raise damaging questions for the district.

    Perhaps the best next step for Central Basin is to issue a statement that it has further reviewed its contract for public outreach services and conducted its own investigation to either (a) conclude its consultant has performed to the highest ethical standards; or (b) it is ending its contract because the opposite was true.

    Then the next step would be for Central Basin to develop and adopt a policy for public communications and code of conduct.

    PRSA, Los Angeles would be glad to help. PRSA has done it before for other public agencies, including FEMA.

    Denis Wolcott, APR, is a member of the Board of Directors of the PRSA Los Angeles Chapter. A version of this post was originally published in the PR in LAblog.

    Thinking of Using a Fake News Site? Think Again. | PRSAY
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    The Ethics of Posting Fake News

    http://www.alipac.us/f9/how-drudge-r...e-news-261015/
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