When Private Details Become Part of Public Relations

By SteveK Comment

arango_7-7.JPGOne of the first orders of business regarding David Carr’s New York Times column was connecting the dots to what Carr was referring to in this line: “A colleague of mine said, he was writing a story about CNN’s gains in the ratings and was told on deadline by a Fox News public relations executive that if he persisted, ‘they’ would go after him. Within a day, ‘they’ did, smearing him around the blogs, he said.”

Gawker concluded
it was this post on Jossip about Times reporter Tim Arango.

Today Jossip did not confirm whether the details came from Fox News.

While we’re firm believers in the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” theory, it would be as foolish to think the spinmeisters at Fox News’ PR unit were involved with the item anymore so than it would be foolish to not even entertain the possibility that The Times newsroom is actually a leak-plagued institution where many a staffer will very willingly air “close held” gossip as a means to get ahead. Because it is.

Carr didn’t take kindly to the Jossip post when it was published in May (a point he didn’t make in the column). In fact, he contacted his “drinking buddy” at Jossip about it.

When the item hit, Carr, who we quite like as a drinking buddy and a byline, contacted us with an off-the-record assessment of what he thought about Jossip and our Arango report; we’ll keep his comments offline, but you can imagine the tone of his communique.

Then there’s Jossip’s general summary of the cable news channels’ PR departments (by way of animal analogy):

It’s generally accepted knowledge within the industry that Fox News’ public relations department is made up of wolves, MSNBC’s made up of sheep, and CNN, as is fitting with the pre-existing reputations of these networks, falls somewhere in the middle. (Goats? Wild ass?)