Tuesday, February 15, 2005
It turns out, shock of shocks, that the field of public relations is suffering a crisis of identity owing to certain of its practitioners' roles in propagandizing for the Bush administration. Well, duh. PR has always existed to "advocate" for corporate clients (a point made by the late historian Roland Marchand in Creating the Corporate Soul) and the current administration functions largely as the federal arm of American private industry. Stands to reason that the giant multinational PR/advertising firms would turn out to be neck deep in "advocating" for the government. We currently view corporations as legitimate institutions largely because, beginning in the early 20th century, PR experts adeptly depicted them as such. The historical point, as usual, is that it wasn't always so. Who knows - maybe it won't be so in the future.