Sunday, August 31, 2008

Frosted Flacks

When CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen offered that "you can't build a profession based [on] deceit and spin, then create 'ethics' rules that call for honesty," he took aim at the very heart of the public relations industry.

Indeed, he's right. There's an order to that sort of thing, but the disorder Cohen's whipped up represents only a fragment of the PR industry.

Mr. Cohen, PR professionals can and have created ethics rules that call for honesty, and they must abide by them. Only by doing so can they build their profession properly.

There are many things Mr. Cohen may never fully understand about the PR industry as he loves to unconsciously lambast the few who have tarnished the moral significance of PR. Perhaps pinpointing one misguided soul as a target for the industry provides a pacifier for a journalist like himself on a slow news day.

Journalists, as he well knows, have their share of lethargic bullies who refuse to step out of the office to find news and instead point fingers at their counterparts, pushing for a public competition of words.

Calling his hollow crusade an "essay" gives him a feeling of pseudo credibility, it seems. If his ultimate goal is for truth, it may be wiser for him to put down the pen and actually go about contributing in a meaningful way.

Mr. Cohen is pointing the gun at the innocent when he could be stalking the efforts of the guilty in hopes to provide justice.

It's easy for him and his "friend" to agree that there are ethical PR employees, and only after the mother of public relations takes him to task, but what is he and his army of crony commenters doing about it?

To state that PR professionals are hypocritical in generality is nothing less than blasting monkeys at a zoo for swinging on branches.

The PRSA knows that it is at fault as much as if not more than McClellan in the first place, but sweeping air under the rug isn't the same thing as sweeping dirt. And lucky for Mr. Cohen and the PRSA, the rug is a small one.

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