Most commentators in the blogosphere have railed against sanitized blogs as being inauthentic. It’s my turn to join that chorus.
Richard Edelman, leader of one of the largest PR firms in the indistry, was among those invited to attend an industry wide summit meeting on ethical guidelines for PR practice. He didn’t attend, but sent one of his aides. Apparently that aide didn’t give Richard any kind of report on the session, which included the Council of Public Relations Firms and other notables from the industry.
Now Richard has posted a blog entry in which he grandly announces — in response to a comment from a visitor — that “I am going to push for an industry summit latest after Memorial Day We have to agree on standards on VNRs and some enforcement mechanism with teeth.”
So I called him out on it by pointing out that there had already been an industry summit, and that he had been invited.
Here’s what that exchange looks like on Richard’s blog:
I read with interest your proposal for an industry wide agreement on standards, but I’m confused. The Public Relations Society of America, on whose board of directors I sit, went to great lengths to host an industry wide summit of PR practitioners and professional organizations last month in New York, and yet Edelman did not participate, despite being asked.
What will your summit accomplish that the summit already held by leaders in the industry did not?PRSA has had a code of ethics and professional standards for more than 60 years, and there are significant barriers to effectively “enforcing” such standards beyond being a moral compass.
(My blog/podcast is at http://lubetkinsotherblog.blogspot.com or RSS feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/lubetkinsotherblog)
Posted by: Steve Lubetkin at April 28, 2005 04:56 PM
Thanks for sending me a noteEdelman should have sent a person to the confab on ethics…i am not sure we knew about it PRSA has taken a leaderhip position for sure But there are other initiatives on going such as Council of PR Firms et al If we have a cacaphony at the end, nothing is improved That is what I was trying to avoid.
Posted by: Richard Edelman at May 6, 2005 02:29 PM
What Richard didn’t post to his blog, although he promised to post it by Monday, was the rest of the email conversation we had. So in the interest of transpoarency and full disclosure, here’s the rest of the thread:
From: Steve Lubetkin [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 5:46 PM
To: Edelman, Richard
Subject: RE: Your email
Richard, I don’t think we had a cacaphony at all. From the documents I
have, you were invited personally to attend on behalf of Edelman. Why
you don’t recall the invitation, I can’t say.
Council of PR Firms was there, as were leaders of many major PR firms,
including Ray Kotcher, Tom Hoog, Larry Moskowitz from MediaLink, and
even journalists, represented by Kevin Smith from SPJ.
We had all the players in one room to discuss the issue.
It’s one thing for a PR industry leader like yourself to miss the
opportunity to be at a true industry-wide summit on PR ethics because of
missed communications. These things happen. So I’ll give you the benefit
of the doubt on that.
But then — without doing any basic fact-checking that would have told
you that there already HAD BEEN a PR industry summit on ethics — you
posted a blog entry suggesting that somehow the industry was ignoring
this issue. You made it sound like you are going to wave a wand and call
a summit to fix the problem. Well, pardon me, but that’s just a little
ingenuous, and it’s the kind of factually inaccurate hyperbole that
raises credibility problems for us all. That’s why I commented on your
We’d love to have you on-board in this industry-wide initiative. Please
join forces with us. We will all be more credibile if we can achieve
alignment on ethical behavior throughout the industry. It’s not going to
happen in the blogosphere.
From: Edelman, Richard [mailto:Richard.Edelman@edelman.com]
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 5:49 PM
To: Steve Lubetkin
Subject: RE: Your email
Steve I accept Matt H [Matthew Harrington of Edelman] will be my proxy as he is running our ethics task force
I don’t want to be a pain or to solve this in blog land
I do want to tell you that the Council of PR Firms for one is going its
We want to be part of the solution for sure
Thanks for making sure we are in
Anyone else think Richard should post all the comments on his blog, not just the ones that make him look good?
Postscript: Richard Edelman has indeed now posted these email conversations as comments in his original blog entry. You can view them here.