Can PR Be Objective, Can Anyone?
His use of the phrase “agenda-toting” was loaded for effect, but my argument is that everyone has an “agenda.”
It could be argued that no ombudsman has total objectivity.
Media organizations hire ombudsman (for money) to “listen” to the viewers/readers/listeners and act as a champion of some of those views to management.
However, the ombudsman also clears up misperceptions that the public might have. In fact, ombudsman serve an edcucational purpose for consumers of the news organization. You can see this in action by visiting the ombudsman page at National Public Radio.
What I am saying is that PR can also serve in this education capacity. Many people who say they practive PR actually practice MARKETING. However, this is not the highest purpose for PR.
I signed a Code of Ethics as an accredited member of PRSA that, among other things says that I must protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information, serve the public interest and contribute to informed decision making in a democratic society.
Do all PR professionals follow these standards? NO. See yesterday's post to see how far some have fallen.
However, I still believe that the role of some kind of consumer advocate, whether you call it an ombudsman or not, could easily fit in as one of the functions of PR.