Two Steps Back for PR

The PR profession continues battle on the reputation front. One step forward and two steps back seems sometimes to be the choreography of our trade, which is lambasted daily by those who under-value the role communicators play in our world – be it business, government, education and culture at large. This is not to say that all PR is good PR. But there is still work to be done by PR practitioners to prove the value of communications.

Take for example a short book review in the Nov 15 issue of Time that begins:  “Great P.R. flacks are as talented with misdirection as they are with the truth.”   If that doesn’t cause consternation among the PR ranks, what will?

Surely, the reviewer Kate Pickert (a staff writer for Time on the health care beat) has some biases.  She is reviewing the new book “Deadly Spin” by Wendell Potter, a former PR exec for Cigna who confesses that he  “sold my soul” for his insurance company employer who allegedly denied coverage to sick patients in the name of profitability.  So  Potter wrote a book about it (for profit presumably), Picket highly recommends the book and PR hits a setback.

The book might be true and interesting, but the choice of words by the book reviewer – much less in her lead — leads me to believe that Pickert might not trust PR and that author Potter regrets be a part of it.

— Diane Schwartz

  • Ellen Lebowitz

    I haven’t yet read Wendell Potter’s “Deadly Spin” but I have watched him on “Rachel Maddow”.

    And actually, I don’t think the public understands exactly what pr is and tend to confuse it with advertising.

    As a publicist, I believe passion is part of being a publicist. Why? Because if a publicist or any other communications professional is not passionate about whoever or whatever they’re pitching, noone else will be.

    And yes, Mr. Potter is selling his book for profit.

    I do not know Mr. Potter at all. However, I got the impression from his tv appearance that he was trying to alert the public – NOT about pr but about health insurance.

    Thank you for posting this. The PR industry is often misunderstood.