Tuesday, October 22, 2013
According to a new book, PR staff for Fox news used dummy accounts to counter negative postings about the company. Was that unethical? It was not transparent, and it was dishonest. Should PR be doing this kind of sub rosa defense work? Some say yes, others no. My inclination is to say it is out of bounds. PR practitioners shouldn't engage in hidden flaming or promotion. They put their credibility and that of the company at risk. For when it comes out, as it has with Fox, it harms the reputation of the company and its employees. PR should play for the long term and not short-term tactical victory, if there is such a thing in the comments sections of blogs. Sure, it is frustrating to be attacked, but find an open way to fight back or ignore the taunters because soon enough, everyone else will as well. Correct fact errors and stand above the fray. Getting into the gutter with street fighters means one will get as dirty. Some practitioners don't mind that. They enjoy bare-knuckle brawling. But in the process of gouging eyes and biting ears, they fail to see that the public at large condemns both sides as extreme.