This was the year when mainstream journalists and TV-watchers around the nation came to recognize that PR people are primarily engaged in manipulating the public. Their purpose isn’t to convey truthful information, it is to hide it for as long as possible and only address it when absolutely necessary—unless it makes their bosses look good. But we here at City Paper, and at alt-weeklies around the country, have always known that spokespeople are generally a joke. But it has gotten worse. Some blame Sean Spicer and say this kind of stuff trickles down. But we think it might have siphoned up. The national flacks realized they can finally do what their local counterparts do. Among those, we have some real doozies here in Mobtown. The mayor’s top propagandist Anthony McCarthy left WEAA, ran her campaign, and took over as transition flack for lame duck Mayor $RB who quickly banned a reporter from WYPR, his former boss’ chief competitor. But BPD spokesperson T.J. Smith has ushered in a whole new era of flackitude. Rank-and-file cops bemoan that the BPD traded two “real cops” for a highly paid communications director. But to the brass, a good defensive player was well worth the trade—especially given the rate of scandals coming out of the department.