Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Public Relation’s Dirty Little Secret

Why do flacks lie? Because lying is rewarded. Once you plant a lie in the press, they have a vested interest in perpetuating it. This was the basis of the whole Whitewater witch hunt. Any flack who has not read Gene Lyons, Joe Conason, Eric Alterman or Bob Somerby is dangerously naive about press practices.

One of the reasons I let my PRSA membership lapse is because they chose Torie Clark to speak at their 2003 conference. She played a crucial role in tricking the American people into a war and disgracing us before the world, and the Public Relations Society of America could see no better than to invite her to speak at their annual conference. What were they thinking?

Media Relations 2004 has invited William Novelli to speak on the role of the communicator in politics and public policy. He is the creator of the infamous Harry and Louise commercials, second only to the Willie Horton commercial in the annals of duplicitous political advertising. He is presently running AARP into the ground. Why would we want to hear from him?

No one who invites the Torie Clarks and William Novellis of this world to speak at their conference, can pretend to care about honesty in public discourse. So it is little wonder that the unfortunate Karen Ryan does not understand that she did anything wrong.

Lies always catch up with you, whether you are a CEO, Cardinal or even the President. Those of us in public relations must teach our clients to put the best spin on the truth and never resort to deception.

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