PRs should stick to promoting new fragrances and over-rated novels
rather than entering the political arena, where they have ‘all but taken
over the battle for political power’, according to journalist Peter
Hitchens, an assistant editor of the Daily Express, makes the charge in
a written exchange with Julia Hobsbawm, MD of Hobsbawm Macaulay
Communications, in next month’s Prospect magazine.
He criticises spin-doctors for trying to impose their angle on stories
and claims that had PR people ‘not branched out into politics’ there
might still be ‘real, live election campaigns with proper debates,
genuine hecklers and a chance for people to see their would-be leaders,
not as they would like to be seen, but as they are.’
Hobsbawm claims that PR’s evolution into a ‘reviled minority’ stems from
journalists’ resentment of their dependence on it and argues that PR has
not ‘branched out’ but is ‘as old as politics’. As to whether PR
involvement in politics serves the truth, she stresses that all national
papers are politically aligned.
‘Until we agree that all information is subjective, regardless of who
writes, publishes or broadcasts it, then to look for a culprit and
settle on PR is a dereliction of duty,’ she says.