6 Valentine’s Day Lessons on Fake News, Lying, and Trump’s Tweets

The Paine of Measurement

It being Valentine’s Day and all, we usually dedicate our February coverage to the subject of love, and specifically relationships. But in these times of so much uncivil discourse and divisive conversations, it’s hard to summon up the warm fuzzy feelings I normally have for February 14th.

Sure, there are some signs of civility. The new NPR show A1 surprises almost every day with its civility and balance, but that is counterbalanced by just about everything on Facebook. I haven’t decided whether the idealistically-named Indivisible is helping or hurting. Half of the conversation makes me cringe—and I’m sure the parts I like make a lot of other people cringe.

Which is why we’re approaching our relationship issue a little differently this year. We’re looking at the results first. In other words, What’s the point of having a good relationship? It is getting your stakeholders to believe or act in a way that helps your achieve your goals. OK, that sounds a bit Machiavellian, but stick with me for a minute…

Think about the brouhaha over our new president’s tweets. Stocks rising and falling, boycotts beginning, all in response to 140 characters. What’s a PR person to do to prepare? Focus on the results. We did a deep dive analysis of the companies that have suffered through a Trump-induced tweetstorm and all subsequent media coverage. The result is Part 1 of our Comms Pro’s Guide to Fake News Before You Get Caught in a Trump Tweetstorm: 6 Things You Need to Know.

As it happens, the size of each or our social networks is largely determined by the size of our brains. Thus there are only so many relationships any one person can maintain. So trying to reach “everyone,” i.e., generating a gajillion impressions, is a waste of time. Which is why we posed the question: If Only 1 in 3 Americans Trust the Media, Why Do PR Pros Obsess About Getting Into It?

We explore the concept of what destroys most relationships: lying. The media has spent an inordinate amount of time of late (too much, IMHO, but that’s a different post), debating about whether our new president is a liar or just delusional. What we do know is that being opaque and inconsistent are the two biggest killers of trust. So, we put the whole issue of alternative facts and fake news into perspective in Part 2 of our Comms Pro’s Guide to Fake News: How to Survive in a World Full of Fake News: A 3-Step Plan. Spoiler alert: focus on the media and the relationships that really influence your stakeholders, and ignore the rest.

Of course, as usual, we give the newbies some help in our Beginners’ Tips for Measuring Trust. Also we bestow our Maven and Menace Awards to some very deserving people. And finally, a box of bonbons for your Valentine’s Day pleasure: 7 Articles About Measuring Relationships and Trust.

Measure on, and Happy Valentine’s Day,


(Thanks to The Sticker Wizard and Goth Monkey for the image.)

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.