Friday musings on the most critical of PR issues

October 12, 2007

Important stuff that popped into my head today…

gore.jpgAl Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, and you know that by now. But did you notice how the honor came less than 48 hours after I praised his intellect and perceptiveness? Coincidence? I’m telling you, this blogosphere is more powerful than you think. I’m gonna check my stats for referrals from Oslo.


howardbeale.jpgHave you thought about the similarities between Jack O’Dwyer and Howard Beale, the character in the 1976 film, jack_new.jpg“Network”? Both are characters so angry about the status quo of their professions that they begin railing loudly and publicly about it. In the movie, Howard draws a huge following to chant his mantra: “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not gonna to take this anymore!”

I wonder if Jack can assemble a similar group of loyalists when the PRSA Assembly gathers in Philadelphia next week? I’d pay to see it. I’ve spoken to PR pros who thinks Jack could be more effective if he toned down the anger in his message. But you know, Jack was pretty reasonable for most of his 30+ years as journalist and industry critic, and what did it get us?

********** Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s talk about Al Gore, PR and Ed Bernays — Whatdaya say?

October 10, 2007

Al Gore hasn’t much use for PR people, and that’s real clear in his latest book, “The Assault On Reason.” But today I’m wondering why the book, released last spring, hasn’t triggered significant discussion in the PR blogosphere. Maybe I can spark some here.

“The Assault on Reason” is about lying — deliberate, deceitful, organized lyinggore.jpg by the Bush administration. Yeah, it’s also a political book with an anti-W slant, but Gore presents a ton of evidence to support his claims. He explains to us just how adept government is a fooling the electorate, often using the tools of PR.

As Gore inspects the history of political lying, he sets his sights on Edward L. Bernays, the man he says turned the art of propaganda into a science of manipulation.

bernays.jpgIf you studied PR history in college, or later in preparation for the APR exam, you know Bernays as the acknowledged “father” of modern public relations. He is revered in the eyes of many who work in our business — a hero in a profession adept at manufacturing such heroes.

Bernays is credited as being the first to use the term “public relations counselor,” and the first to apply the ideas of social science to PR practice. Historians never fail to link Bernays’ knowledge of human nature to his DNA. Ed was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. Read the rest of this entry »