Google’s Blog search facility corroborates Emily Bell’s notion in the Media Guardian today, that the Blog world needs to be conscious of the inner tosser that exists in all of us who feel the need to “opinionate”. The thousand of PR blogs that proliferate daily, suggest that the wave of opinion does not have the cut through yet. I am never surprised at the continual level of sideswipes made at me or Max Clifford. After all, we put our views forward so we should hear the opposing comments. But the rise in PR blogs suggests that this counter comment is beginning to verge on the obsessional. Surely there are other issues to be investigated about the heart of our trade? It’s for this reason that I have always tried to distance myself from the heart and soul of the public relations business. I feel too much of the PR industry sits about all day pinging one another with catty stories, instead of getting on with its work. The media arena sometimes pre-judges PR because of this perceived bitching on their client’s time and money. I do think certain areas of PR are ill-conceived and terribly cosy, from the mere headcounts of celebrities to what people believe PR is – ie talking a good game is sufficient,when they have no idea what that game, let alone the job is. I hope and pray that this is contrasted with the Borkowski approach; hard work, wit, trust, long-term strategic thinking, risk, a certain joy in creating something that actually stands up, and super-serving the client and the media.
My scribblings sometimes generate greater interest in other arenas of the media which goes to show that there is a desire to see the other sector of the industry. I have an unproven conspiracy theory that the Ab-Fab clichéd lifestyle is a convenient cover rendered by the industry that has more sinister aims. Innocently served by the glib, self centred narcissistic and the useless, it damages some great professionals that are out there. I have no problem with a good wrist-slap or sometimes a bigger kicking, (I should be able to take it now), I just wish there was more focus on some of the heinous crimes of our trade. In fact, I will go further and say that if employees toiling for companies owned by networks, that distance themselves from a conscience, perhaps shouldn’t blog or go on record pointing the finger at cleaner operations that take a harder look in the mirror. In January 2003, I wrote an article about how the U.S. administration set about persuading the American people to back the first Gulf War. I don’t think it was published, possibly for legal reasons, although it did no more than recount facts already in the public domain. Type Nayirah Hill and Knowlton into Google, and the top link is to an article entitled “How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf”, To be brief, the article exposes how PRs completely fabricated a shocking story of how Iraqi soldiers had thrown babies out of incubators in Kuwait, in order to harden public and political opinion in support of a declaration of war. It also exposes how much the PRs earned off the back of it.
It’s interesting that every time I mention this in the context of ethics, or indeed I try and talk about how the tobacco business goes about its information crusade, I generate such a level of emails and blogging that suggests maybe some companies have the resources to neutralise certain debates. It’s going to be more difficult to effect change when the democracy of blogging is used as an example of purer word of mouth. Think about it, who can afford the time to offer ground shaking opinion when there are all those crazy parties to go to, and gyms to shape up in. After all, nobody wants to employ an ugly PR lovely.