LAST CALL: Lehrer PR team not Jim-dandy over 'most trusted' listsnub

PR folks are accustomed to being given short shrift by journalists

when pitching a story. So imagine the joy the Council of PR Firms must

have felt when it appeared the tables had been turned and PBS anchorman

Jim Lehrer was pitching himself to the PR industry.

But while Lehrer was omitted from the survey commissioned by the Council

about America's most trusted newscasters, it's not clear whether it was

Lehrer's vanity or just PR diligence on the part of PBS that led to the

response that followed.

As PRWeek reported, the survey showed that Americans trust Tom Brokaw

the most, followed by Peter Jennings and Dan Rather.

Realizing the oversight, the PBS PR machine immediately called to point

out the oversight to Sarah Drennan, the Council's vice president of


"They were just surprised that he wasn't on the list because apparently

he wins so many opinion polls," said Drennan. That fact was made

abundantly clear in a subsequent three-page letter sent to Drennan,

detailing Lehrer's myriad accomplishments.

The e-mail, from Sara Hope Franks, PR manager for MacNeil/Lehrer

Productions, pointed out: "In 2000, Jim Lehrer was declared 'most

respected anchor' in a reputation poll of Washington opinion leaders,

conducted by the bipartisan research firm SWR Worldwide." It also used

the "Flattery = results" tactic: "Your surveys are useful, important and

respected," the e-mail swooned.

Drennan explained that the poll was designed to survey attitudes

primarily about network anchors, with only CNN's Larry King representing

the cable set.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in