In Petraeus Affair, PR Perpetuates ‘Spin’ Image

I must admit that hearing the news that David Petraeus’ biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley, also involved in the Petraeus affair, have “PRed up” is a bit annoying.

It was reported by AdAge that Broadwell has hired Washington agency Glover Park Group to represent her, while Kelley enlisted crisis PR manager Judy Smith, who is the model for the “spin doctor” character Olivia Pope in the ABC TV drama Scandal. On top of it, yesterday Kelly’s twin sister, Natalie Khawam, had her Gloria Allred moment at a press conference with the venerable barrister, trying to explain her e-mail relationship with Afghanistan commander John Allen.

OK, everyone is entitled to PR representation. But after hearing from several prominent PR and association executives over the last few years that the image of public relations must be improved, this news strikes me as a step backwards. It perpetuates the notion that PR is just about the “spin.”  While I understand that reputation management is available for all, I’d like to hear more about the goodwill that PR enables than stories like this, particularly as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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