Is Trump Team Blurring Line Between Public Relations And Propaganda?

Jake Neher/WDET

Matt Friedman

Attendance for President Donald Trump’s inauguration was lower than past swearing-in ceremonies, as indicated by numerous aerial photos, empty bleachers and Metro ridership. However, Trump and his team spent the weekend trying to skew reports about the low attendance rates by using “alternative facts.”  

New York Times White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush joins Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to talk about the White House press corp’s relationship with the new administration. 

(Trump Press Secretary) Sean Spicer, who I have known for a decade as a Republican spokesperson and strategist… I think delegitimized his position at the podium from the minute he opened his mouth,” said Thrush.

Thrush says Spicer has talked about restricting press access and recently a colleague of Thrush, Maggie Haberman, was dropped from the White House email distribution list, meaning she no longer receives press releases. 

However, Thrush says he feels some of the issues we are seeing between the White House and the White House press corp are due to the fact that the Trump administration is not yet well staffed. 

People don’t want to work for Donald Trump,” Thrush said. “There are people do not want to work for him because they don’t view the organization as being functional, they don’t think that they will be rewarded for their hard work and their advice.”   

Matt Friedman, principal with the Tanner Friedman PR firm, also joins Henderson to discuss the line between public relations and political propaganda.

What we saw from Sean Spicer on Saturday night was not PR. It was fascist-style propaganda,” said Friedman. ”This is just the opposite of how we council our clients… it cannot be rationalized away.”

Friedman says that when PR is utilized in the way we see the Trump administration using it, the PR industry is seen as less credible.

Based on his experience working with CEO’s, Friedman says Spicer’s actions on Saturday were a direct order from Trump.

Click on the audio player to hear the full conversation. 

Image credit: Cheyna Roth/MPRN

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