Monday, November 06, 2006

Walking The Line 

News media take a kind of satisfaction when they show that self-proclaimed models of propriety are anything but. There was a spectacular example over the weekend in the US. It raises an issue older than gospel readings -- hypocrisy. There is nothing more revealing than showing cracks in a facade. We've seen a lot of that lately with CEOs going to jail, with high-tech companies revealing backdating of options, with politicians admitting to criminal dealings.

It doesn't take long for citizens to react in disgust.

Why is it that so many forget a basic rule of PR? Let others proclaim your virtues. Demonstrate by your actions that you have the strengths you desire. There are times when one has to speak in self-defense by pointing to deeds one has done. There should be few instances where one takes credit for anything without proof. Yet, it happens constantly -- and reporters wait to pounce.

We in PR are more guilty than most of propagating an atmosphere of hype. We should be the moderating influence on clients: Too often we're not. Instead of questioning what clients want to say, we accept it uncritically and find ways for them to say it. Does that make us as hypocritical as those damned in the news?


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