This term came to mind as I observed various factions behaving badly during our current tragedy in Tucson, Arizona. Each group attempted to use the event as a platform to further their point of view or cause. They attempted to use the news to their benefit.
I agree that, in some occasions, using the news can be neutral or even good. News of an impending heat wave can be used to remind frail individuals to drink plenty of water and to confirm that their air conditioner is working, etc. And, while it is less altruistic, this news can even be used to remind individuals to hurry down to the store and purchase a new air conditioner, if needed. One use is kind, the other is fair.
To me it seems unacceptable to use this tragedy (or any tragedy) to create "A Scramble To Control Narrative Of Tucson Massacre":
It is especially unacceptable when the gunman in this case is described as having no particular message or purpose. According to an article in The Washington Post,
One friend declared that Loughner had no political or ideological bent, likening him to the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: "There's no rhyme or reason; he wants to watch the world burn."
Forbes sums the current state of affairs up in an article titled, "Who Is Winning The Tucson Murdered Blame Game?"
As a B2B Marcom practitioner, I ask, "Who is LOSING The Nuse Game?" The answer is three-fold. When people in our communications arena behave as badly as those cited above (I hope it is obvious that I am writing on topics of much smaller scale and scope than the tragedy used in this example) these factions lose:
- the organization behind the nuse: it cheapens your value proposition when you use news to indirectly imply that your products or services are superior - or that those of your competition are inferior.
- the media: when news is used to inflate readership and attention, it weakens the moral high ground that media could command.
- the target audience: when the readership, the target audience, begins to distrust parts of the media, and the organizations behind the stories, they begin to distrust ALL that they receive.