The angry men of flak

Tomorrow's Business

Some flaks don’t get it. They are supposed to take the flak, not dish it out. Clue’s in the name.

The bunch of PR folk who think it’s good to shout at hacks is small. But here’s an oddity: those who do are nearly all ex-hacks themselves.

And they were the sort of hacks who would have bristled with fury if any flak had dared to question their work.

I haven’t crossed swords with him for a while, but my favourite angry hack-turned-flak was a man famed for, erm, not always getting every detail of his stories right.

When he asked hacks for a correction, the reply would be that we’d think about it once he had issued one for every story he wrote in the 1990s.

Perhaps the attack-dog strategy is to be seen to be fighting the clients corner. To be able to say that a strip has been torn off the errant reporter.

It seldom works. Twice last week very senior business hacks told me they had planned to do sympathetic comment pieces on a company presently in the public eye.

Having been shouted at by the flak for previous coverage, they changed their mind.

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