In the last decade, fake and prepackaged news created and expanded by U.S. government departments to propagandize issues has not only created more distrust on the part of businesses and citizens—it’s also been a costly mistake.
(TAMPA BAY, Fla.) January 30, 2017—Just when all sides of the political landscape cry for transparency, a cloud looms over questionable PR practices being used by the federal government, and the effect of such practices on the U.S. economy. True public relations persuade people to be more comfortable and cooperative in doing business with a company. If that isn’t happening—whether by business or by government—it isn’t being done right. PR veteran and CEO of JoTo PR, Karla Jo Helms, is leading a rally cry to urge businesses to “demand proper PR, accountability and the return on investment of government PR strategies. Government is comprised of and elected by the people—not the other way around.”
Citing a Government Accountability Office report commissioned by Senate Budget Committee chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the $1.5 billion spent on public relations by the federal government was largely driven by 10 agencies that made up 95% of the spending. The Department of Defense employs the greatest number of PR positions (5,238 in FY 2011) with a median salary of $90,000.1 The amount of money invested in public relations does not correlate with public confidence in government. A study by Pew Research in 2016 found that Americans’ trust for government has declined from a high of 77 percent in 1964 to a mere 19 percent2—an indicator that the PR is not working.
But, unfortunately, fake PR is not new news. In 2005, the New York Times pointed to an increase in the amount of contrived and prepackaged news created by the Pentagon, the State Department and others.3 They cited the use of “PR” in false news by the Bush administration—government-made news segments that were made to look like local news and often used fake reporters. On other occasions, the tactic was that the public wasn’t informed that the video segment was produced by the government. Helms therefore asserts that “American taxpayers have paid to be subjected to economically damaging propaganda and non-transparency – disguised as PR.”
In 2009, the government spent trillions on the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Its purpose was to ensure that financial institutions remained solvent in order to avoid another financial crisis such as that experienced in 2007-2009. In a report to Congress, Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the TARP, noted that government’s ability to act in crises depended on its credibility with the market and with the public, whose political support was crucial. “Unfortunately, several decisions by the Treasury … have served only to damage the government’s credibility and thus the long-term effectiveness of TARP,” he said.4 Credibility is the difference between public support and distaste. The events leading up to a crisis, as well as how it is managed, will have a direct impact on public trust.
Helms reminds industry pros that the economy thrives on money being circulated and spent in business—money is, after all, only an idea backed by confidence. Investment arises from that confidence. Without confidence, the future of businesses is in jeopardy. So, the corollary is true, if there is no confidence in the government, yet expense in PR have increased – then ‘fake PR’ is being used.
Helms states that “PR must be used ethically. Historically, ‘PR’ has been used to manipulate people. That’s not real PR, that’s fake – and it won’t build relations. For the sake of our economy, businesses in the U.S. need to take charge of their own public relations and that of their industry by publicizing real news – and demanding government PRs issue truth, not lies. The government doesn’t change unless the people demand it.”
To learn more about JoTo PR and its intention to help companies disrupt the landscape of manipulative and fake PR and be in control of their message, visit https://www.jotopr.com.
About JoTo PR:
After doing marketing research on a cross-section majority of 5,000 CEOs of fast-growth trajectory companies and finding out exactly how they used PR, how they measure it and how they wanted the PR industry to be different, PR veteran and innovator Karla Jo Helms created JoTo PR and established its entire business model on those research findings. Astute in recognizing industry changes since its launch in 2009, JoTo PR’s team utilizes newly established patterns to create timely PR campaigns comprising both traditional and the latest proven media methods. This unique skill enables them to continue to increase the market share and improve return on investment (ROI) for their clients, year after year—beating usual industry standards. Based in Tampa Bay, Florida, JoTo PR is an established international public relations agency. Today, all processes of JoTo are streamlined PR services that have become the hallmark of the JoTo PR name. For more information, visit JoTo PR online at https://www.jotopr.com.
About Karla Jo Helms:
Karla Jo Helms is the CEO and visionary behind JoTo PR. She cut her teeth in PR via crisis management, working with litigation attorneys, private investigators and the media to help restore companies of goodwill back into the good graces of public opinion. Karla Jo learned firsthand how brutal business could be when there were millions of dollars to be had—and how to navigate those treacherous waters via control of public opinion. Since then, Karla Jo has patterned her agency on a combination of her hard-won public relations experience, uncompromising high standards and exacting nationwide market research across multiple industries. She’s a hands-on executive who hand-picks the PR professionals who work on her team, to ensure that client results always meet client expectations. Helms speaks globally on public relations and how corporations can harness it to drive markets.
1. Lee, Sarah. “Report: The Federal Government Spends 1.5 Billion on Public Relations Each Year.” TheBlaze.com. 01 January 2017. Web.
2. Adelmann, Bob. “Federal Government Continues to Lose Trust of its Citizens.” TheNewAmerican.com. 26 January 2016. Web.
3. Shah, Anup. “Media Manipulation.” Global Issues.Org. Globalissues.org. 17 April 2006. Web.
4. Nutting, Rex. “Public distrust is biggest cost of TARP, Barofsky says.” MarketWatch. MarketWatch.com. 21 October 2009. Web.
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Karla Jo Helms