Friday, November 21, 2008

Did the Media Fall For a PR Stunt?

JON STEPHENSON told us that the images transmitted around the world of the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue were really a giant public relations stunt.

The event conveniently took place near the hotels where the media were staying. There were loads of American military around (look carefully at the image below ... there are numerous tanks) to ensure the safety of the media so they could cover the event.
What should the media do in this situation? Should they document the event and announce that it felt like a PR stunt? Or do they simply cover the event and trust that the viewers and readers will understand what was going on?

Please pass along your thoughts, as well as any thoughts on John's visit in general.

11 comments:

danzee88 said...

I think it was a PR stunt (which is why PR rocks) because it literally changed the 'framing' of the message it was sending out.
Do i think it was wrong? no just clever journalism. I don't think they ever mention that throngs of Iraqis poured onto the streets. So in not saying that they have not lied to anyone. It is up to the viewer to read into the pictures.

John had alot and he kept my interest but i could tell a number of the students around me were losing interest because he was not particularly energized. I was pretty offended, however, by the students who wouldn't stop talking. I mean, this guy is actually from the other side of the globe and your just going to ignore what he has to say?...ehhh not a fan of that kind of ignorance.

Geo said...

It doesn't bother you when those ignorant kids talk during my lectures? That drives me nuts.

Here is a good rule for students to follow: don't talk in class. If you are bored, write notes. Don't let your ignorance get in the way of someone else trying to learn. For real.

What I thought was worse than people talking through John's lecture was the girl in the front row who slept during Barry Levine's lecture.

That is just plain rude.

Have some common sense, people. If you are going to sleep, sit in the back.

- George (the teacher who understands that you may not be thrilled with every aspect of your education but thinks you should always show respect to others, including your fellow students)

Pete B said...

I thought what he had to say was really interesting, just like Barry Levine. Why do people stay awake for the lecture slides (no offense) and sleep during the guest speakers?

And by the way, John's lecture if you call it that was much more engaging than Barry Levine's because he talked about REAL current issues. The war in Iraq and serious problems SHOULD hold more interest than which celebrity is sleeping with who.

-Pete (The student who enjoys real issues)

Elizabeth said...

I feel like it was a PR stunt, which was meant to do what PR does. Spin. People like Judith Miller were the spin doctors of journalism at that time. We're mean to see that everything is just skippy over in Iraq, when things were in reality: FUBAR.

As for John, much more interesting than Barry. Like Pete said, he talked about real issues, not the bullshit Barry had. I like foreign perspective, I always find them interesting. Sometimes more relevant than those at home.

Elliot said...

I think it was obviously a PR stunt, but that is not necessarley wrong. Just because the media was givin "front row seats" to this event does not mean that they can 't report how much military was around to enable the media to be able to cover the event.
Journalists have a responsibility to interpret the news, and serve as an independent monitor of power for their audience, especially when thier audience is on the other side of the world.
I thought that John's lecture provided for an interesting, and rarely talked about view of international journalism.

Jen said...

When John told us the real story about toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue, I was completely shocked. Here is this event that many Americans consider momentous; People have seen it as a sign that the Iraqi people see us as liberators. It was amazing to hear HIS take on it, especially considering that he was actually there. I found him really interesting. This may sound weird but I respect him for just being himself and not trying to jazz it up too much. I think that's a mistake some public speakers make.

And yes, I also found the talking to be rather rude.

jessica l said...

I really enjoyed John's visit to the class. I thought he was extremely interesting. He didn't even have anything in front of him, he was just speaking his mind and had a lot of useful information. I found Barry Levine to be extremely boring. I found myself zoneing out so many times. I also was distracted by several people talking which I found rude. Even if the guest speakers are boring, they do deserve respect. They are the ones making it in this tough buisness so they must have something informative and important to say. I enjoyed John's lecture very much and i appreciate all of great people who are taking the time to come and speak to our class. Thanks George

Taj said...

John was freaking amazing. I sat in the middle so it was a little hard to hear him, but i strained to. He was great. Now that`s a good journalist with ethics. He pulled me back towards the light! I`m gonna save the world!

What`s the name of that lady he (or maybe you, george) was talking about? His favorite journalist? I wanna read up on her. Something about being ballsy. I didn`t catch the name..

Um, I still didn`t quite GET what this whole situation with the PR, because people were talking (<_<) and I couldn`t hear too well. :(

Taj said...

Oh yeah, I revamped my blog you guys. Took some tips. I like the changes, its less random, more focused. check it owtt.

Megan McCue Journalism said...

I thought they should specify it was a PR stunt because I wouldn't have known if I was just reading and it did not say that.

Jonathan said...

This is a sketchy issue. The troops wanted to show the world that Saddam's rule was done and finished in Iraq. But at the same time, I find it a little ironic that this Saddam building "just happened" to be within literally a few blocks from the hotels of the media. It wouldn't surprise me if this was just a PR stunt but for now I will give the troops the benefit of the doubt and say that this was not a PR stunt.