Is PR Transparency an Oxymoron?

The title of this blog posting caught my eye: “Can the PR industry and the blogosphere be friends.” In delving into this blogger’s take on our industry, I was drawn to this quote:

“PR is an organised effort to control the thinking of a targeted group of people, which constitutes propaganda. If the PR industry couldn’t fulfil [sic] that function, the industry would cease to exist.”

What a crock! Once again, some activist Brit with a fleeting sense of what we do as a profession attempts to broadly paint PR professionals as propagandists. Clearly, his anonymous posting (very unblog-like) leads me to believe that he is hiding an agenda or past affiliation with PR Watch or some rabidly anti-PR group.

Let me ask: is it propaganda to advise a CEO to quickly make the facts of a crisis known to all affected parties? Do PR pros have sinister intentions when tasked to use the news media to alert a “group of people” that a devastating hurricane is about to hit? What about the PR professional’s role in getting the word out about a product recall, or a consumer scam?

Sure, as PR people seek to reconcile their practice with an increasingly influential citizen journalism movement, who’s to say that the transparency that permeates (and defines) the blogosphere will not be practiced by the new breed of PR pros? If the author of this posting had spent more time perusing Global PR BlogWeek , he would have observed an earnest intention by the participants therein to play by the blogosphere’s still-evolving rules.

His groupings of the three types of PR practitioners — the first two being harmless — is insightful, but who’s to say that the third nefarious group operating on the public policy front couldn’t eventually come to embrace open communications? It will take some doing (and perhaps a new administration), but it certainly is an idea worth pursuing. If not, the profession will be hard-pressed moving forward.