In my view, this makes him a dumb dinosaur (albeit a rich one). Like too many public relations practitioners, Clifford hasn’t realised we’ve shifted to an open communications world, where maintaining secrets is impossible – as well as being a stupid strategy for effective reputation management.
But this is a man whose wikipedia entry says he is “known as being ruthless in his pursuit in gaining his client publicity or subverting a damaging story, representing unpopular clients (such as those accused or convicted of crimes) and acting as an agent to people selling “kiss-and-tell” stories”.
I’m not sure he’d even be aware that his entry on one of the most popular sources of information online still emphasises his role as a publicist. Actually, this is the top result on a Google search, where Clifford’s own site is 10th (and wouldn’t even load when I checked the link). This indicates he is still operating in a tabloid world and wouldn’t know his SEO from his elbow.
Let’s hope one outcome of the new media challenges for public relations is the extinction of protectionist/publicists like Clifford.