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Malcolm Cole
Director – Media and Communications

While the US voters look to have dispensed Donald J Trump to the Presidential dustbin, the phrase “fake news” – his gift to the global lexicon – looks set to linger on. Like or loathe Trump, rarely has a political leader introduced into the public conscience a word or phrase that sticks about after they have moved on. There’s no doubt that Trump has done that.

So why does “fake news” resonate with so many people so strongly, even when they inherently distrust its author? Arguably it’s because our trust of the traditional mainstream media ebbs lower every year. And potentially it’s because fewer and fewer of us choose to get our information from newspapers, radio and television bulletins. It’s no wonder a generation that does not hold the news media in the same regard as it parents and grandparents, and instead gets its news from peers on social media, subscribes so readily to a catchy term such as “fake news”.

So how are we to combat this rising distrust of the news media? In short, by ensuring all our public commentary is truthful and credible, and is backed by easily accessible (and preferably independent) facts and figures. There’s no doubt the news media will always latch on to the most interesting element of any issue. Some may describe this as “a media beat up”. Others might argue that it’s simply good story telling – distil the parts that will attract the consumers’ attention and amplify those while downplaying the more mundane aspects. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

At the SAS Group, our highly experienced media and communications team understand how to extract the most interesting aspects of your information, and present that to journalists in a way that will pique their interest while also protecting your hard-earned credibility. Importantly, we always start with a strong factual basis – preferably one that is publicly available, so the media and their readers, listeners and viewers can fact check your information. Credibility is king in the information age, and our careful planning and engagement will ensure you don’t slide down the slippery slope of fake news.

The SAS Group is your trusted partner for government, media and corporate engagement.

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