MEDIA WATCH: PR industry stung by CBS' reporting gaffe

CBS' September 8 telecast on now-discredited memos about President Bush's service record ignited a firestorm of reporting that questioned the credibility of both CBS and mainstream media.

CBS' September 8 telecast on now-discredited memos about President Bush's service record ignited a firestorm of reporting that questioned the credibility of both CBS and mainstream media.

From a PR standpoint, CBS was criticized for circling the wagons and not admitting the problem. More disturbing for the PR industry was the conclusion that messages promoted by all parties are irrelevant, as the public believes messages confirming opinions and discounts those that don't.

Most frequent messages

1. CBS and Dan Rather face serious credibility questions

2. CBS' actions suggest a liberal bias

3. CBS and Dan Rather have been too late to apologize

4. Actions by CBS, Kerry campaign suggest its involvement

5. Dan Rather should think about retiring

Based on 31 reports from major US news and business publications appearing Sept. 16-24, 2004

Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International

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