Huffington Post Blogger Insults PR Professionals
It’s a tough line of work, being in Public Relations, what with all the evil we do.
Just ask the blogger at the Huffington Post who blithely portrayed public relations professionals as cynical, evil minions of “the dark side”:
Can you ever trust a PR person? If he’s working pro bono and has only six weeks of unemployment to his name, then the answer is probably.
After Kevin DeSoto , 41, was laid off after a 20-year career in PR and marketing — an industry which is sometimes cynically referred to as “the dark side” — he began using his social media savvy to help others… for free.
Note to blogger: “Can you ever trust a PR person?” Really? You actually wrote that with a straight face?
The story, titled Kevin DeSoto, Former PR Exec, Crosses Over to the Good Side (!) condescendingly compliments Mr DeSoto for his admirable work on behalf of people in need. I suppose that the author of the piece thought that his pro bono work would seem even more admirable if DeSoto’s recent change of fortune had transformed him from a killer of Jedi Knights into a pillar of the Forces of Good.
Yes, I know the “dark side” slam on PR has been around a while, but I’m challenging it anyway. Besides being a lame angle for a story and lazy stereotyping, it’s unfair to public relations professionals. It also cheapens what Mr. DeSoto is doing. To that end, Mr. DeSoto made a good point that was unfortunately met with a backhanded compliment:
Since leaving the corporate world, the former camera marketer says he has focused on “going back to the basics of true, honest PR and marketing,” which may sound oxymoronic but after being “burned” in the corporate world, DeSoto says he is confident his good deeds will pay off some day.
“I struggle with being optimistic about this sometimes, but I have a strong conviction that if you do the right thing, it will pay off some day. Good things can happen when you give your time, skills and resources to help someone with asking for anything in return.”
Most PR professionals I know do pro bono work as a matter of course in our careers, and it doesn’t take a sudden job loss to make that happen. On the whole as a profession we’re not unethical shills for nasty corporations that rape the environment or bilk taxpayers. No, most of us work for non-profits, hospitals, social causes and responsible companies. Yes, by telling our client’s story we help sell products and services–but that makes us a vital part of capitalism, not Lords of the Sith.
There are bad players in every profession–whether it be PR, journalism, law, medicine or even blogging. Tarring everyone with the same “dark side” brush isn’t fair or responsible.
You can trust me on that.