'Mendacity' 'Obfuscation' 'Spin' Not Good For Corporate Ethics PR Work

"Public relations firms giving advice on corporate ethics? That sounds like a plot line straight out of a movie by Woody Allen," Jeff Barge, president of Lucky Star Public Relations, wrote in a July 30 Wall St. Journal letter-to-the-editor. Quoting Barges remarks, Paul Holmes, editor of the Holmes Reports, reflects on PR's role in ethical corporate policy making. "The idea that public relations, a discipline largely associated in the public mind with mendacity and obfuscation and spin, might be able to provide corporate America with some sort of ethical compass is clearly laughable -- even to public relations practitioners." Holmes challenges PR people to show leadership and work to convince "skeptical CEOs not only of the importance of real ethics, but of the role PR people can play in achieving ethical performance."