Politics and Public Relations go hand in hand. Public Relations smooths over the oft-insane world of political scandal and human error. Every action, whether accidental or deliberate, needs to be explained to the public in order to maintain a certain image.
As of late, social media has been intertwined with politics and the way we communicate breaking news of said politics — giving those in political Public Relations a run for their money.
Just yesterday, social media helped propagate a political blunder at the hands of massive news conglomerates, CNN and Fox News. The Supreme Court of the United States (trending on Twitter as #SCOTUS) upheld the Affordable Care Act as a tax measure but in the first few minutes of the ruling, both CNN and Fox had reported that the ACA was struck down as unconstitutional. In a rush to report the news first, other news organizations like the Huffington Post, NPR and Time ran with that information on their social media sites before realizing that CNN and Fox were wrong.
Well, as you can imagine, Twittizens and Facebookers were all over it. They immediately jumped at the chance to call attention to the “little” whoopsie-daisy. A PR disaster? You bet. A poor producer or two will soon be out looking for work. But it’s not the first time a news organization has made a mistake of this magnitude. But now, with social media as powerful as it is, things are different. Word is traveling faster and organizations are being held responsible by the people.
In the same vein, this week the PR News Blog drew attention to the communication tactics in the race for the presidency in a post titled “Looking for the Next Trends in Communications? Watch the Obama & Romney Show.” Editorial Director, Steve Goldstein, claims that this election has been — and will continue to be — a hot bed for social media activity and communication trends. Comparing the quadrennial event to the monolith in Stanley Kubrik’s Space Odyssey, he says “presidential elections touch down periodically to speed the evolution of communications, if not of the human race itself.” The way the Obama and Mitt Romney camps utilize social media in the coming months will shape the arena for many more months afterwards.
What political communications trends have you noticed so far from Obama and Romney? How do you think CNN and Fox News will fare after this SCOTUS debacle? What kinds of social media “crisis control” can fix giant public mistakes? Let us know what you think!