Current ethical lapse in the public relations industry

23 Sep

Although this happened a few months ago the issue and ethical lapse remains very relevant.

“According to USA Today, Burson-Marsteller, PR firm, started a whisper campaign — method of persuasion in which damaging rumors are spread about the target, while the source remains unknown ( —   aimed to get news coverage on obscure Gmail feature, Social Circle, infringes on peoples’ privacy and violates FTC rules. But Google said that Social Circle lets customers make social connections using public and private connections across Google products without skirting privacy”

I believe this firm broke all of the PRSA six core values including: Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness.

B-M broke, what is to me, the most important value: HONESTY. I see ethics revolving around HONESTY, fairness and being responsible. I think the company lost a lot of respect and credibility from the public, media and other firms. It’s not like it was a mistake but a planned event with evidence of that from USA Today. Although there are six, the next and last value I will mention in this ethical lapse is independence. There was no accountability for individual actions. It was a whisper campaign so there was no source and in this case why would you want to be held accountable.

“Profession values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole” -PRSA

This firm truly created an ethical lapse in the PR industry through its mistake and error in judgment which produced a harmful and troubling outcome.

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in PRCA 2330



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