It’s not about a brave young man; nor is it about the restraint shown by the British media for ten weeks. Nor is it about the reappearance of the Drudge Report. It’s about Max Clifford, who entered the fray to say this was all a publicity stunt. Of course!
Peter Wilby writing in Media Guardian follows the Max Clifford line. ‘He [Harry] is a pawn in a PR game.’
Let’s see who’s involved in the ‘PR game’. Certainly the army, and who can blame them, given the problems, unpopularity and bad press they’ve encountered. Certainly the Royal Family, given the problems, unpopularity etc. Certainly the media (in particular the press), given the problems etc. Certainly the Drudge Report which shot to fame when citizen journalist Matt Drudge bypassed the caution of the US media and broke the Monica Lewinsky story. That was ten years ago, so the site was in need of some new notoriety on the global stage.
Some journalists will continue to lament the growing influence of PR (one of the themes of the Nick Davies book); but most of us can accept that everyone’s ‘on the game’. This is also a challenge to university courses teaching the subject, which may struggle to distinguish professional and ethical PR from Max Clifford-style publicity stunts or do-it-yourself ‘citizen PR’.