The question kind of reminds me of an old joke, which I will retell with new players:
Question: What is the difference between a PR rep and a journalist?
Answer: One is sleazy fixer that works on the "dark side" the other tries to get their clients in the news.
Ba dum! (please hold the applause)
Wait, I am not finished:
Question: How do you make the field of PR, which many don't understand, or trust, seem even sketchier?
Answer: Get News Corp. involved.
The News Corp. mess seems to be a never-ending affair that gets more lurid and just plain weirder by the day. This week alone we heard about the Murdochs' appearances before the British Parliament, replete with a pie throwing incident, a dead body found … and that was just the past couple of days.. It is ever- expanding, bringing a wider mix of institutions and characters into its ugly embrace.
PR has entered the fray, along with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who hired an ex World editor as his communications chief, as was covered early on. The Journal wrote yesterday on this, and about another similar situation involving Scotland Yard:
Cameron Defends Handling of Crisis: U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron faced a barrage of accusations in Parliament on Wednesday over his relationship with News Corp. and his former communications chief, Andy Coulson, a key figure in the phone-hacking scandal that continues to inflict damage on the British leader…Mr. Cameron has been repeatedly drawn into this scandal through Mr. Coulson, who was arrested this month, but not charged, amid the hacking investigation. Mr. Coulson had resigned from News of the World in 2007 when one of his reporters went to jail for intercepting voice mails.
Police Face Questions: Two of Britain's most senior police officers denied to British lawmakers that they had a tight relationship with the U.K. arm of News Corp., but expressed regret at the police's handling of the phone-hacking scandal that has claimed them both among its biggest casualties.
Kicking off the day's high-profile parliamentary hearings, departing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson said that he was unaware of connections between a police public-relations adviser and the media giant's now-closed News of the World.
The PR adviser, Neil Wallis, is former deputy editor of the News of the World and is at the center of the allegations over the alleged cozy relationship between Scotland Yard and the weekly tabloid.
The journey from journo to PR is a well traveled one; the big question is, was this really about PR or about buying "protection" from the tabloids?