Dan Abrams Defends Straw Man Version Of His New PR FirmSFormer MSNBC host Dan Abrams is a popular guy, because it's been rumored that he has jobs to give out. Abrams, you'll recall, is starting a ridiculous, conflict-of-interest-riddled PR firm that will distinguish itself by selling corporate clients (or just moguls) the advice of current journalists, bloggers, and other media types. The Observer spoke to Abrams, and he says he's gotten 650 applications already—"the bulk of whom are freelance journalists, people who are writing books and individuals who have recently been laid off or walked away from jobs in the media industry." Are we missing something here? The whole reason that people got upset about Abrams' business plan in the first place is that he says he's going to offer the consulting services of current, not former, media people. Former journalists work for damn near every PR firm in America. That's nothing new. Here's Abrams' offended quote today:
“There’s something a little bit offensive to me—as all these media organizations are cutting back so significantly on personnel—that people are out there saying, ‘Well, Dan Abrams shouldn’t be trying to help them find any work,’” said Mr. Abrams. “You know, give them a break.”
Dude, give us a break. You sound like a flack already. Has anybody ever said that Abrams—or anyone else—should not hire laid off journalists? No. What everyone has pointed out is the ethical untenability of hiring current journalists to do this work. And Abrams clearly has current journalists who are planning to be on his payroll—including Dave Zinczenko of Men's Health, Peter Greenberg of NBC, and, he says, "on-air network news personalities, who I would describe as household names." Daily Intel's Jessica Pressler already confirmed that neither the NYT nor the WSJ, the standard bearers of journalism ethics, would allow their editorial employees to participate in something like this. So it's pretty simple: either Dan Abrams is hiring former media people, in which case he's just another PR firm; or he's hiring current ones, in which case those people all have automatic conflicts of interest that preclude them from claiming impartiality as journalists. Easy. [NYO; pic via]