The value of public relations or more specifically publicity within such a public profession as politics varies in depth and warmth depending on who you correspond with. In a arguably divided society ‘ethnopolitical antagonisms are fundamental to almost all aspects of civic life, yet there is limited research into how government–media relations operate in such contexts’ (Rice, Somerville 2017, p.93) Those studies available on government and media relations are primarily focused on ‘Western majoritarian parliamentary or presidential systems’ or ‘any system that has clear “winners” and “losers” after elections—and where institutional factors are considered’ (2017, p.93).
The focus therefore on how politicians or in Trump’s case, a one-man show, interact and develop image and relationships with and through the media are quite biased. We have little understanding on the globally diverse processes available and the equally diverse opinions relating to privacy and publicity, especially when it comes to politics and politicians daily tasks.
This being said however, there is a powerful argument delivered via Global News wherein the value of a man like Donald Trump went beyond expectation and this is what ‘pollsters and the campaign of Hillary Clinton did not appreciate, even though it was vividly on display in February after a video went viral showing furious Carrier workers here learning from management that their jobs would be going abroad’ (Russell 2016). The argument that Trump caught the attention of Carrier employees through the use of destructive and negative powers such as racism, sexism, and bigotry cannot be made as these employees and townsfolk are of diverse ethnicity, education levels and include both men and women. Therefore, as Bernie Sanders continues to relay in a contrastingly logical approach ‘that for any of us to succeed, we all must join the fight to enhance the lives of working people. No matter what our priority issue, we will need to devote time and resources to fight for universal programs that lift us all up. In short, we have to expand our issue silos so that fighting Wall Street and the billionaire class can link us together’ (Leopold 2016).
So would public relations or government relation save our fake-tanned friend in developing a more approachable, respectable brand and image? Or is what we’re seeing today the best that can be done for the businessman renowned for thinking before speaking rather than responding upon reflection?
Since his inauguration, Trump and his government have continued again and again to use the word ‘alternative‘ to propagate an image alternative to the true facts. The use of propaganda and/or rhetoric by Trump appears to have a similar impact to other great leaders in the USA. David Culbert reflected on this power of mass media and manipulation of image and reality, arguing that ‘the image of Kennedy, a worldwide phenomenon, suggests why we should be concerned with the international history of mass media, and how public diplomacy provides a valuable construct for understanding why certain approaches to image formation can be studied as historical constructs’ (Culbert 2010, p.430). We mustn’t get too bogged down in the fear of mass media, trolls and conspiracy, but instead look to teaching the uneducated and fearful. If Trump wants no immigration and a ban on particular Muslim countries, education must be brought in to eloquently describe and teach the values of immigration over the past thousand years and how we ourselves are all immigrants in the end.
Public relations, through publicity and government relations, may not help Trump and his presidential team see the clear objectives for a democratical nation and globe but through the powers of lobbying and advocacy, as seen during the Women’s March, there can instead be reflection and education for those that are unaware. It may be that rather than using public relations to propel the President of the United States into a stratosphere of global appreciation and respect, P.R is instead harnessed by those that need it most – the public and particular groups with a belief and common goal yet lack the power and voice to make their thoughts known.
- Culbert, D 2010, ‘Public Diplomacy and The International History of Mass Media: The USIA, The Kennedy Assassination, and The World’, Historical Journal Of Film, Radio & Television, 30, 3, pp. 421-432, Humanities Source, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 February 2017.
- Leopold, L 2016, ‘Will Trump’s PR triumph at carrier mean the democratic party’s demise?’, Common Dreams, Common Dreams, retrieved 5 February 2017, <http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/02/will-trumps-pr-triumph-carrier-mean-democratic-partys-demise>.
- Rice, C, & Somerville, I 2017, ‘Political Contest and Oppositional Voices in Postconflict Democracy’, International Journal Of Press/Politics, 22, 1, p. 92, MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 February 2017.
Russell, A 2016, ‘Donald Trump saves 1, 000 jobs in Indiana: Good PR, bad economics or something else?’, Global News, 2 December, retrieved 28 January 2017, <http://globalnews.ca/news/3102703/donald-trump-saves-1000-jobs-in-indiana-good-pr-bad-economics-or-something-else/>.