|December 14, 2011|
|Conrad Raps Media Bias|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Bob Conrad, Ph.D., who conducts thegoodthebadthespin blog about PR and the media, has authored SPIN!, in which he claims that “the news reporting process is prone to error—and is getting worse.”|
He covers “where news bias really begins” and “why public trust in the news media is at an all-time low.”
The 90-page book is to be released Jan. 3, 2012, but copies are available now at $14.95 via Amazon.
“Spin” has been in the title of at least nine books about PR including Deadly Spin (healthcare) by Wendell Potter; The Father of Spin (bio of Edward Bernays) by Larry Tye; Spin Cycle (about the White House) by Howard Kurtz , and Spin Sisters (women of the media “sell unhappiness and liberalism”), by Myrna Blyth.
“From Sara Palin to Toyota, from science to environmental advocacy, the waters of truth are frequently muddied by the news media,” says a release on Conrad’s book.
It describes studies about the news media by researchers and tells Conrad’s experiences in dealing with reporters. A number of “real-life examples” are given that “dig deep beyond headlines.”
The New York Times is accused of using “faulty data from an environmental advocacy group to mislead the nation about its water quality.”
Two reporters are said to have won Pulitzer Prizes “based on false or exaggerated news reporting.”
Another topic is “What went wrong with the Toyota recall news coverage and why.”
Conrad believes that a “false dichotomy” is created by non-scientists presenting an “antithetical view of biotechnology.”
“Our entire food production system,” he writes, has flourished because of historic and clumsy genetic modification, but modern genetic modification by food conglomerates and scientists is still viewed with skepticism.”
Conrad Faulted PRSA Survey Report
Conrad touched off a spirited, 14-response debate on his website in September when he said PRSA had made a “major strategic error” in presenting a rosy interpretation of research it had done among members.
He said chair Rosanna Fiske was unjustified in saying members were “incredibly satisfied” when only 5% of the 21,000 members responded to the e-mail survey. The return was too low to justify any conclusions, wrote Conrad.
Fiske sent a 526-word reply to the Conrad blog with the comment that members were “quite satisfied” but that further research is needed.
Conrad responded that neither adjective was justified. “Satisfaction” was ranked at about 50% or a range of 47% to 64% across member-career points (slide 19), he noted. “No objective researcher would, with a straight face, infer this to be ‘incredible’ satisfaction,” he added.
The Society, he said, “has struggled with transparency and the free flow of information” and makes statements that “support my points that it struggles with basic PR.”
PRS VP-PR Arthur Yann posted two responses including one that demanded that the 1,291-word O’Dwyer blog of Sept. 1 be removed from the Conrad website. He refused.
Conrad’s Ph.D. is in educational leadership/higher education administration from the University of Nevada-Reno. He is a public information officer with the Nevada Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.
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