PR pros and reporters in Washington, D.C., are at each other’s throats, dropping the F-bomb at every opportunity and adopting characteristics more akin to New York media relations than those in the capitol.
At least that’s what Politico
’s Dylan Byers and John F. Harris observe in a big story about the bitter divide between the two sides
“It is one of the signature developments of Washington during the Obama years: a flourishing F-bomb culture, one that has spread far beyond the White House and now pervades government-media relations in both parties, all across the capital.
“The close 2012 presidential campaign has been an especially ideal environment for this new mind-set of nonstop combat—marked by blazing email trails, streaked with profanity and accusations of incompetence and bad faith.”
According to Byers and Harris, social media, the 24-hours news cycle, and the emerging popularity of the “gaffe” story are putting intense pressure upon PR pros and reporters, alike. And they’re taking out their frustrations on each other in ways uncommon to communicators and journalists in years past.
Veteran Democratic press secretary Joe Lockhart told Politico
“Going after someone with an obscenity-laced attack from reporter to flack, or flack to reporter, happened 30 or 40 years ago. But it didn’t happen electronically, it happened over a drink at the end of day. It’s amazing just how sterile the relationships are now. There are technologies that bring people together and technologies that separate us. The current technology has allowed people to report things quicker, but it’s driven a wedge between reporters and the people who cover them.”
Age, the story insists, is fueling this divide. On the campaign trail this year, there have been fewer experienced reporter and press aides, with many from each side taking part in their first presidential election, according to Politico
“While older hands complain about the ‘breakdown of collegiality,’ younger reporters and flacks seem hardly aware that things were ever any different.
“‘You probably need to go back a little earlier than me. I came up in the school of “f—- you” communications people,’ one young Republican spokesperson said.
It’s likely the young spokesperson also came of age during the always on reporting of websites such as Politico
and The Huffington Post
, and the highly influential aggregator The Drudge Report.
About these sites—particularly Politico
—a Twitter user said:
Politico may have helped create this culture in the nation’s capitol, but as Byers and Harris point out, it’s a battle that’s been taking place among reporters and government PR pros in New York for decades.