Truth and Facts in Public Relations

Mark Weiner, Chief Insights Officer, Cision & Chief Executive Officer, PRIME Research Americas

Public Relations is a function of “truth” and “fact.”  While some of us may focus on one more than the other, as a public relations research consultant, I deal in both truth and facts. Let’s consider the difference between the two:

A fact is a reality that cannot be logically disputed or rejected. If I say “1+1=2,” reasoning skills don’t change that fact. In offering this example, I am not speaking a truth, I am stating a fact. If you say “1+1=4,” you are not lying, you are simply incorrect. Facts are concrete realities that no amount of reasoning will change. Facts are acknowledged rather than derived.

Conversely, a truth is a deduction or a conclusion. If I say “Higher taxes are good,” and I offer a strong rationale to support that statement, then — if higher taxes really are good — that is a truth. However, if another person offers a strong rationale to the contrary, and because of their argument I adopt their position then that is also a truth. But my new beliefs are just as true now as my old beliefs were before I accepted the argument.

Truths, as opposed to fact, are much more fluid and malleable than their fact-based counterparts. So while it may be true when people say that SOME PR is spin, it’s not a fact that ALL PR is spin just as it may be true that SOME PR practitioners act professionally, it’s not a fact that ALL PR practitioners act professionally.


Mark Weiner on PR-ROIAbout the Author: One of the world’s largest corporate communications research and consulting firms, now part of the Cision family, PRIME employs more than 500 analysts and consultants who combine talent with technology to foster better business decisions among its global clients. Weiner joined PRIME as CEO in 2008. Weiner is a member of the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame and delivered the Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations at Quinnipiac University.

Weiner is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, serves as a Trustee and the 2017 Chairman of the Measurement Commission for The Institute for Public Relations, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Museum of Public Relations. He is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, the Public Relations Society of America and AMEC. Weiner sits on the editorial advisory boards of The Strategist and PR News. He is a regular contributor to PR Week, IABC’s Communication World, PRSA’s Tactics and The Strategist, and Commpro.biz/PR-ROI, as well as an active participant at conferences by The Institute for Public Relations, The Conference Board, ABERJE, the Association of National Advertisers, The American Marketing Association, The Arthur Page Society, IABC and PRSA. Since 1993, he has devoted his career to helping many of the world’s most respected organizations and brands to demonstrate and generate a positive return on their investment in corporate and brand communications.  |  @WeinerMark 

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