Sunday, December 19, 2004

Bad Science 

This story spotlights the fact that faux experts do not fool the media that much. A "Bad Science" award went to a so-called doctor marketing cures and remedies who beat out two so-called doctors with disputed credentials. The article goes on to cite other dubious science claims and projects.

The subject of inaccurate data has arisen many times in this blog and will come up again. Unfortunately, too many PR people fail to resist when data are not clear, and they should. We are the last line of defense against groupthink and marketing enthusiasm. It is our job to ask questions that no one wants to answer and then, to insist on answers that make sense. When we duck the job because we say we are not scientists or experts, we avoid one of the fundamental things we do -- ensuring accuracy of claims and contentions.

PR practitioners who practice "Yazzuh Boss" publicity deserve to be relegated to the lowest rung of management. They condemn themselves. Practitioners who give into marketers deserve equal criticism.

One thing I've learned over years of working with marketers is that few, if any, understand PR. Regrettably too many marketers run PR programs these days as part of integrated communications. They insist on unrealistic messages and worse goals, and PR practitioners feel they must do what they are told. When they do, they give up any professionalism they might have had and become another vendor, a replaceable commodity.

Obviously, this is a subject about which I am heated, so I'll put away the soapbox. But, when I hear PR practitioners moan that they don't get respect, I think to myself that they have earned the disrespect they receive.


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