Two days ago, I had no idea who Ryan Holiday was. I’m guessing most people still don’t unless they live and breathe PR news. I don’t consider myself one of those people, but one of my favorite blogs is Spin Sucks. I’ve learned a lot at that site and made some invaluable connections and friends. As I read Gini Dietrich’s post about Holiday and his book, Trust Me, I’m Lying, the other day, I found myself perplexed and horrified.
Holiday chose to prove that the PR and journalism industries were and are corrupt by pretending to be a legitimate source for a number of articles. He then revealed his true identity and called himself a “media manipulator.” He also proceeded to say that he meant no harm with his acts and even apologized to some of the reporters he had conned.
Yes, conned. Holiday may call himself a media manipulator, but it’s merely a sidestepping of the truth. Holiday is a liar and a cheat. He used jargon and fancy talk to make himself more likable and convincing. It’s worked, too. A number of people have been applauding his efforts.
I suppose that reaction perplexes me more than anything else. Why applaud someone’s bad acts even if they were in the name of some so-called good? How does that help matters? Bad and bad don’t cancel each other; they just result in more bad and a condoning of bad behavior.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned – I’ve been called “conservative” by some – but I don’t believe the way to remedy a bad situation is to use the current bad practices. Sinking to the level of the ones who are doing wrong does nothing except contradict whatever end was trying to be accomplished. The means do matter. Having an opinion matters, and a person can have that opinion without being bad or mean or resorting to trickery.
The way to counteract corruption is not to become corrupt; it’s to do the right thing. It’s to take a stand for what is good and noble and praiseworthy. Will that make a person a target? Of course, but it seems better to be accused of being upright than to have to attempt to excuse one’s actions with the title “media manipulator.”
Photo: osde8info (CC BY SA 2.0)