Donald Trump’s PR spin war

 

Trump image
The 20th of January 2017 is a date which will forever stick out in my mind as it is the date that Donald Trump was officially elected as the 45th president of the United states of America and the political sphere of the world changed forever. The strangest fact of the entire election was that Trump didn’t win the popular vote he actually lost it to Hillary Clinton by 2.8 million votes, this is the highest margin that a candidate has ever lost by in the popular vote and still won the election. However, a story at the time which stated that Trump had won the popular vote had over 450,000 shares on Facebook, this is increasingly ironic as in the Trump era of “fake news” one of the first articles of his presidency was indeed fake news.

This increasingly shows us how in this technological age how there is now a new form of propaganda which gives the user a voice and an opinion and it doesn’t have to be factual or accurate and with the American first amendment for the freedom of speech it is almost impossible to halt. Propaganda in the modern age of public relations was defined by Edward Bernays in post-World War One society, however at this time the media sphere was limited with only a few broadcasters. The narrative that they put forward was easily manipulated. Now in the modern media sphere with the limitless web that is the internet there are many broadcasters and now for the first-time individuals are the greatest creators of content not organisations and this cannot be manipulated or censored to the degree that it was.

The president’s public image has been something that has stood out throughout his term and campaign. In late 2015 Donald Trump openly mocked a disabled reporter Serge Koraleski he stated “you’ve got to see this guy” before jerking his arm in which I can only describe as a condemnable act. Trump later denied that had not intended to mock the reporter and was not aware of his disability, however the reporter in question later said that he had known Trump and they were on first name basis and that he was aware of his disability. I now ask the question how could the American public vote for such a man, the simple answer is Trump is somewhat of a public relations master.

Whatever we personally think about Donald Trump what he has accomplished is something incredible. How could a businessman with many successes and failures and with no prior political experience become the president of the United States. The secret to his success you could say is down partly to the fact Trump had an excellent public relations team.  A good public relations team will soften past incidents and will enhance the positives. During his campaign Trump used very well-placed campaign tactics to win over the public, his campaign focused on stimulating the silent masses who had felt that they were under-represented by the previous more liberal Obama administration and he also tuned into their lack of understanding on the improvement of the economy by stating he was bringing American jobs back to America in places such as Detroit in the efforts to “make America great again”.

The fact that Trump was already a well-known celebrity also certainly aided in his campaign, Trump had appeared in over twelve movies and was also the star of the America version of The Apprentice.  In a society that knows more about the Kardashians’ children than of their own government Trump’s recognized celebrity status meant that he had to spend very little on advertising and publicity. In another smart move Trump ensured he spoke directly to the people and avoided confusing political jargon that would distance him from his target audience. Trump made clear cut straight to the point language and did not sugar coat the problems he faced and made fun of political opponents and this connected with his audience as he aimed to be a man of the people not just another academic politician.

With over 5.5 million Twitter followers and 5.5 million Facebook likes Donald Trump has become the mastermind of social media politics. He actually referred to himself as the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters which is ironic if you have actually read his tweets and they are not what you can describe as a masterpiece. Through the use of Instagram and YouTube Trump has given himself free publicity as they are regularly picked up by news channels. As I asked early how could Americans vote for this man? The simple answer is Donald Trump like any good business man knew his audience and the brand he was selling, and he sold it with 100% conviction, he knew what the American public wanted, and he gave it to them in abundance. I believe with all the certainly in have in my mind that Donald Trump will be re-elected as he has given the majority the political freedom and in the land of the free what more can a person want.

Jordan Arthur is a 2nd year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/jordan-arthur-864694173 and Facebook – facebook.com/jordanarthur.71 

Donald Trump- PR mess or PR genius

It’s been over a year since Donald Trump became the most powerful man in the world and the 45th president of the United States. Do you remember what you were doing that very day and hour he won? I remember I sat up that whole night watching the results come in flicking between CNN and Fox news. I along with all the Hollywood stars though America would vote in Hilary Clinton but gosh weren’t Katy Perry and I wrong. In a year where Brexit won the vote it was silly looking back to think Donald Trump wouldn’t become president.

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Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign and even now not an hour goes by without a headline or some sort of uproar about something President Donald Trump has said or tweeted. No time in history has public opinion or the media been as widespread and ongoing since ‘the Donald’ announced he was running for president all those years ago. Half a decade ago Donald Trump wasn’t really a name which people mentioned here in Northern Ireland and I’m sure it wasn’t mentioned much in any other part of the world. Back then all Donald trump was known for was the U.S apprentice (he was no Sir Alan Sugar) and for owning most of New York and Manhattan. Back then I didn’t even follow him on twitter or ever even consider following him on twitter. Nowadays, he is usually one of the most trending hashtags or something related to what he has said or done is trending. Not going to lie, but one of the best decisions I made in 2015 was following Donald Trump on twitter. L5
Donald Trump has definitely rewritten the rules on messaging and communication. From a PR perspective (or well a final year PR students perspective), some would say Trump’s approach or lack of has been a horror show (possibly similar to the shinning) from his incorrect messaging to his attacks on people (remember when he was team Robert Pattinson after his breakup with Kristen Stewart) to now his attacks against the media and their ‘fake news’. It’s fair to say Donald trump has made himself a poster boy for how not to communicate to the public… or has he?

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It’s very easy to see Donald Trump’s tweets or on television and think he doesn’t know anything about communicating or Public relations but maybe just maybe he has rewritten public relations? Stay with me here…

Public relations is the professional maintenance of a favourable public image by a company or other organisation’s or individuals. Donald Trump doesn’t get much positive interactions, usually people’s public relations strategies is to gain positive interactions and dismiss backlash. However, Donald Trump’s public relations strategy is the exact opposite even now a year later after he has won the white house. Trump’s immediate off the cuff responses to the Middle East, china, the latest SNL skits, fake news or repealing Obamacare is his main strategies.

Some people believe he has thrown away the traditional pillars of talking points, messaging, communicating and replacing them with no-holds-barred dialogue. Donald trump choosing to do this means no matter if you are a democrat or republican or a member of the green party you are giving him visibility.
Trump’s approach is to raise any issue no matter what time of the day it is even if tis 3am in the morning on twitter.

Even though many hate to admit it, this strategy of Donald Trump’s is working and it is working very very well. Throughout his presidency and probably long after he will continue to have control of the topics and issues he wants on the agenda for that day.

This approach to taking over the white house has been to keep the audience tuned in and on the edge of their seats, keeping us all guessing what next will Donald Trump say.

Who would have thought Donald Trump could possibly change Public Relations? But then again suppose we never believed he would actually become president? Who’s ready for Kanye west or Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) presidency race for 2020…. L1

Lena Coyle is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @Lena_coyle

The repeal of Net Neutrality – is America okay?

It’s not exactly new information that since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, America hasn’t really improved as a nation, despite Trump’s presidential campaign slogan ‘make American great again.’ The majority of the decisions he’s made since winning the election has outraged most of the country, like his decision to ban transgender troops, or the travel ban he enforced just one week after his inauguration.

However, the most recent nation-wide dilemma, – the plan to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections – even has Trump supporters up in arms, probably because this is the first major decision under Trump’s rule that is actually going to affect all of them.

Net neutrality demands that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all web traffic the same, and should enable access to all content and applications, regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking specific products or websites.

Without net neutrality, ISPs will no longer have to treat all internet traffic equally, and will be able to favour certain websites and services over others.

Think of Internet traffic like actual traffic, without net neutrality, ISPs like BT and Verizon can develop literal fast and slow lanes. One certain ISP could have the power to slow down its competitors’ content, or block specific political opinions or beliefs that it disagrees with, and in turn could charge extra fees to the very few content companies that could afford to pay for special treatment, which will degrade everyone else to a slower tier of service. The repeal of net neutrality would destroy the open internet.

On Thursday 14th December 2017, Trump’s Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to approve this controversial plan of repealing net-neutrality.

Of course, no one, other than the FCC know what this repeal of net neutrality actually means for users of the Internet, although some people have made their predictions.

The most likely of outcomes, is that the prices the public pay for their Internet will go up, but variety and diversity of accessible web pages will go down and the largest, most well-known of Internet companies will gain a significant advantage over small, upstart companies. As a consumer, the end of net neutrality means your most-used and favourite websites are going to load a lot more slowly, and some of your favourite content may just go away, because your provider can’t pay the fee. The consumer will no longer be in control, the ISP will start to pick the winners and losers instead of the Internet user themselves.

Andrew Leonard used this example in an online article on rollingstone.com: “Let’s say you’re a regular user of Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Currently, you’ve got all those apps on your phone and laptop and they all work perfectly. The pages load fast, and orders go through right away. But you get your service through Verizon, and now, with no net neutrality, Verizon is capable of saying to all three online retailers: ‘hey, if you want to be in the fast lane of the Internet, you have to pay for our premium package’. Amazon and eBay, the two more established and larger online companies can afford to do this, but Esty, as a smaller upstarter company, unfortunately cannot, meaning Etsy will from now on, be in the slow lane, and the next time you want to search for a “Save Net Neutrality” t-shirt to wear to your next protest, the page takes absolutely forever to load.”

But that’s not all. Under the new rules, ISPs won’t just be free to charge more for faster access, they’ll be completely free to simply block access to whatever part of the Internet they feel serves their financial interest. Comcast, for example, may decide that it makes no sense to allow Netflix to compete with its own streaming service and stop allowing its users access to the site.

Right now, it seems to be the end of the Internet as Americans know it. But a legal effort to overturn the decision made by Trump’s FCC is expected to begin immediately. Congress has the power to pass legislation to restore net neutrality, and this could mean greater turn out in the 2018 midterm elections from millennials who care deeply about this issue. Around 18 states also plan on suing the FCC in order to defend net neutrality protections, including New York, California, North Carolina and Virginia.

Hollie Thomson is a final year BSc student in Communication Management and Public Relations. She can be found on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holliethomson/ or Facebook: Hollie Thomson

Did Donald Trump “Slut-Shame” N.Y. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand?

In another colorful news week, the president was accused of what’s called “slut-shaming” when he fired out a tweet at New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. After tweeting about the president and his shortcomings in a series of multi-day statements, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand implied that the women behind the curtains of Trump’s past sexual assault accusations should come back into the spotlight.

Once Trump, or his team of PR agents, read the series of tweets, President Trump had his own response to send to the senator. In the tweet, Trump states, “Kirsten Gillibrand is someone who would come to my office begging for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them).” Although some Twitter users are stating that one’s mind needs to be “in the gutter” to interpret that tweet sexually, others are arguing it’s a very blatant slut-shaming attack on a high-ranking female political representative in our country today.

Trump’s Accusers

To date, there are 17 different women who have come out and made their case for inappropriate touching and comments made by the past reality television star. Working together to make their voices more nationally heard these women took to Twitter to rally the troops and share their individual stories and encounters with the president. Joining them was Senator Gillibrand, who although she does not have a personal story regarding the president, was passionate about the act of empowerment that was sweeping through the ranks of afflicted women.

In response to Trump’s tweet, Gillibrand stated, “I will not be silenced.” Much like the cases that are going down right now against the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, no one is safe from the accountability that victims are holding their accusers to today. Gillibrand stated she felt that Trump should be no different, as she has held a same standard to President Clinton today, whose accusers are in the dozens.

This past Tuesday, 59 female members of Congress urged the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate misconduct claims against Mr. Trump. Spurred into action by Senator Gillibrand’s public slut-shaming, the people who are demanding social justice are growing in numbers.

Protective PR

However, as we have seen in the case of Hollywood, individuals in the limelight come with a certain protective public relations sphere that keep them from being held truly accountable for what they have done in the past. Since the majority of predators are being exposed in their 60s and 70s, these men have been able to keep their history of sexual assault hushed until today. Arguably known as a protective PR stance, it certainly looks to be the case for the likes of President Trump.

And then there comes the case of slut shaming. Known as the action of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative, the debate remains regarding the interpretation of Trump’s tweet and its plausibility.

Slut-Shaming

You are probably forming an opinion right now about how you interpreted the tweet and what Trump meant by it. If there’s one thing we need to remember to be fair in assessing the news, it’s that we can’t jump to conclusions with the intonation of his tweet, although acknowledging that it could’ve been malicious in nature. Either way, the war on women continues, and tweets like that from the Commander in Chief to high-ranking officials in our nation sends a bad sign to citizens and most importantly, young girls with hopes and dreams of being respected one day.

Much like Hollywood is doing right now, politics needs to incorporate an element of accountability for past actions committed against women, as well as men. Mr. Weinstein has a list of 50-women and counting, all accusing him of various types of sexual harassment to assault. Leveraging national PR to his aid once more, Mr. Weinstein apologized in a statement that managed to dilute the message and make it more about overreaching actions than his actual intentions and law-breaking behavior.

If we are to prevent this kind of “norm” from happening again, we must hold these individuals to a higher standard. Famous PR protection is something that needs to be monitored more closely. Slut shaming, no matter the intention or deliverer, should never be tolerated, which Congress is taking very seriously right now. As the debate heats up regarding big name offenders in our world today, we are seeing that no one is safe. Protective PR can only go so far when the voices grow in strength and number, and thanks to social media, they are able to do just that today.

As for Trump’s tweet, do you believe he was slut-shaming Senator Gillibrand?

 

Nicole Devlin is a final year Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-devlin-29342364/

 

 

 

Donald Trump – Leader of the United States?

Donald Trump – Leader of the United States?

Whether Americans agree with it or not, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

 

Growing up, I had always known Donald Trump to be this multi-millionaire business man. He had travelled around the world creating Trump resorts, golf courses and many other vastly expensive ventures. He was seen as “out there” and a bit OTT! From very early on, you knew that Trump would bring a very different approach to politics.

 

Things would undoubtedly be interesting for the rest of us…

Much of the election campaign for his presidency was surrounded by controversy. To this day he continues to shock the world with some of his interviews and tweets which offend people on so many different levels.

 

•Sports and America•

 

As many people know, Sports is such a massive part of everyday life and culture in America. In the last few months there have been controversies involving the biggest sporting organisations in America and Donald Trump, dragging him into the limelight for all the wrong reasons- (you could solely blame his twitter account!)

Donald trump rally

 

•Trump collides with sports stars•

 

The NFL (National Football League) is America’s most powerful sporting organisation with TV deals and sponsorships worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has fans in the States and across the globe who religiously follow their teams, while it also has casual fans (myself included– the annual SuperBowl game may just be an excuse to stay awake drinking with your friends into the wee hours on a Monday morning!)

 

Most of the star players in this sport come from African American backgrounds and are prime examples of what many believe to be “The American Dream”

 

Recently some of these stars have taken it upon themselves to use their high status and fame to showcase what they believe is right by protesting. What could be wrong with this? Everyone has a right to stand up for what they believe in… See the next paragraph for this brilliant pun!

•San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick “takes a kneel”•

 

During the 2016 season Kaepernick chose not to stand during a pregame playing of the national anthem as a show of protest against police brutality and racism in America. In some quarters he received praise for this, however it was unpopular with the NFL’s more conservative favouring fan base. It prompted many back and forward debates about whether sports stars should be using their stature in order to protest a point of view.

Colin K kneeling

 

The most important thing from this was that it then prompted other sports stars from across America to realise they could also use their position of social influence to protest for what they believe in.

 

•Trump’s response•

 

At a rally in Alabama, Trump took the opportunity to address the predominantly white crowd about his thoughts on the NFL.

“You know what’s hurting the game,” Trump asked, “when people like yourselves turn on television, and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem.”

What was quite shocking about this was the social divide he had immediately created. It was almost as if he liked the idea of the “us against them” mentality. While he used the “people like yourselves” phrase to address the rally crowd, he also branded “those people” – the African American sports stars.

Trump unbelievably went on to advise fans to boycott the NFL and speculated the idea that the NFL club owners should actually fire those players who feel they can protest during the playing of the national anthem.

 

Steph Curry’s White house snub

 

The NBA is the next major sporting organisation that has seen Trump involved for all the wrong reasons. In Basketball, it has for a long time been seen as a tradition for the winning team from that season to get an invite to the White House to formally meet the President in office. However this year, Golden State Warriors player and MVP Steph Curry (in other words the player of the year for that season) decided that he did not agree with the President’s views on African American citizens and would not be attending the White House with the winning team.

This led to a huge backlash on Twitter. It was so fascinating to see the president of a country getting involved in a confrontation via a social media site!

Trump tweeted:

“Going to the White House is considered a great honour for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

 

LeBron James who is arguably one of the greatest basketball players to play the game replied to Trump with an instant classic which received over half a million RT’s;

LeBron J tweet to Trump

 

PR and Trump

Looking ahead to the future it will be interesting to see if Trump continues to publicly say whatever he wants about a certain topic. He famously is known to personally tweet all of the tweets off his account which is rare with someone who has many millions of followers on the platform. You may think that after all of the controversial moments he has had that he may tone it down online and really take care of the matters which America needs taken care of. In my eye’s it is hard to see how Donald Trump can be a genuine leader of the United States while he evidently shows he does not support everyone who is indeed an American citizen.

 

Daniel Lewis is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. He can be contacted at: LinkedIn