A guy in Australia named Lyall Mercer wrote a pr mentioning his firm which was put up on Christian News Service (a pr site).
For pete’s sake. Pr is pr.
Charisma magazine picks it up with a few words changed, putting another byline on it.
Lyall Mercer of Mercer PR paid to have his advertisment put up at Christian News Service under the title: Driscoll Controversy Highlights Need for Churches to Develop PR Strategies to Protect from Christians
It shows up at Charisma magazine under the title: Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy Shows an Enemy Within
The Charisma piece changed three things:
Christian News Service copy:
Mr. Mercer is an Australian who spent six years living in the USA before returning to Australia to establish Mercer PR. He still deals with clients in the USA and advises high profile churches and ministries as well as corporate clients.
…“Churches and ministries are insulated, and they try to respond to external publicity with internal solutions crafted by people within their church or another church,” he explained.
Mercer is an Australian who spent six years living in the U.S. before returning to Australia to establish Mercer PR. He still deals with clients in the U.S. and advises high-profile churches and ministries as well as corporate clients.
…”Churches and ministries are insulated, and they try to respond to external publicity with internal solutions crafted by people within their church or another church,” he says.
Mercer paid CNS to put up his pr which comes across as a puff piece on Driscoll and Mars Hill, but essentially it’s an advertisement for his firms services. Looking at the price structure of Christian News Service, I’d guess Mercer paid $75.00 US minimum.
So why is Charisma magazine running it as a news article written by Russ Jones of Christian News Service – who gets a byline for changing 3 words of a piece from one of his clients?
Russ Jones is Christian News Service:
Did Russ Jones get paid again by Charisma?
Did Charisma pay to run the pr by Mr. Mercer?
Russ Jones clearly states the following to Warren Throckmorton:
This was a PAID news release by Australian-based Mercer PR sent out at 9:30am CST. The owners name is Lyall Mercer.
Jones states that this was by Mercer PR. (I haven’t got the stomach to call it a news release, it’s an advertisement). He clearly says ‘by’, inferring Mercer wrote his piece, and clearly stating someone paid to have it put up on Jones service.
Since Mercer runs his own pr firm, why didn’t he just skip middleman Jones and solicit Charisma magazine himself? I’ll attempt to be generous and go past calling this piece paid advertising and say at best it’s an opinion piece. And I’ll entertain the possiblity Mercer PR paid Christian News Service to have it ‘distributed.’
Either way, Charisma magazine doesn’t do much for it’s shaky credibility.
Final question, did Mars Hill pay Mr. Mercer of Mercer PR to distribute his opinion?
Update: Charisma magazine has changed the by-line:
Update: Mr. Mercers pr/advert/puff piece, “Driscoll Controversy Highlights Need for Churches to Develop PR Strategies to Protect from Christians” has disappeared from Christian News Service. Poof.
Update: It is back with an Admin by-line. Charisma deleted all the comments under the Mercer pr.