Some PR campaigns could genuinely be characterised as being in the broad public interest, such as campaigns against smoking or crisis communications aimed at minimising the impact of natural disasters.
the focus of the Centre for Media and Democracy since 1993 has been in “exposing the activities and ethical shortcomings of public relations firms”.
In creating an online collaborative encyclopedia, SourceWatch! – CMD aims to establish a “truth squad” to document PR and propaganda activities of PR firms and professionals “engaged in managing and manipulating public perception, opinion and policy.” It claims the wiki resource will adhere to strict referencing and has a paid editor.
I often feel uncomfortable reading about the questionable practices that are highlighted by CMD – they don’t reflect my world of public relations. But of course, the agenda of CMD is as one-sided as those it criticises.
I feel CMD perpetuates a terrible image of those working in PR – which isn’t reflective of the entire profession – and those it “exposes” don’t seem too bothered by its existence.
The wiki is an interesting development and one to watch – and as the site indicates, media are increasingly turning to those such as CMD for views they feel aren’t “tainted” by PR disinformation.