More Flack Fall Out

I’m back from a week’s vacation at the beach, and feel better than ever. Thanks to Kim for holding down the fort while I was gone! I hope you all had a great week, too.

Of course, the world continued to turn in my absence. I’m catching up on all of my e-mails, and came across this one from the PRSA, sent yesterday:

PRSA today submitted a letter in response to a commentary on CBS Sunday Morning by legal analyst Andrew Cohen in which he challenged the integrity of the public relations profession.

If you wish to post your own response on the CBS Website, you may do so by clicking here.
Thank you,

And before this, you may remember a couple of weeks ago I blogged about Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker PR blacklist, in which she ‘outted’ what she thought were negligent PR people.

But rather than join the chorus of how all PR people need to do better, and how we all need to work to elevate the stature of our profession, I’m going to learn from the words of my friend, Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, professor at Clemson University. You can read her theory on her blog at I really agree with her thoughts on this subject, although I didn’t realize it until I had a chance to sit down and talk with her about it.

There will always be people out there who don’t understand what we do, and just like in any profession, there will always be some bad apples in the bunch who try to spoil the reputation for everyone.

Rather than join them in the self-flagellation chorus, I’m going to rise above Andrew Cohen’s remarks and chalk them up to someone who’s been exposed to some less-than-reputable PR folks. And that’s too bad. It just means the rest of us need to continue to follow the rules, make ethical decisions for ourselves and for our clients, and show Andrew and the rest of the naysayers through our proven results that PR is a worthwhile profession.

What do you think? Has my time in the sun made me all too ‘Zen’ about the whole thing? Do Andrew’s comments make you fightin’ mad?? Let’s hear it.



  1. Liza,

    I agree with your cool, calm, collected reaction, but have to admit that I was a bit fired up about it after watching the original clip due to one statement he made.

    “Show me a public relations person who is “accurate” and “truthful” and I’ll show you a public relations person who is unemployed.”

    The reason that got under my skin is that he literally is saying that every single PR person with a job lies, cheats and steals. There is nothing general about that statement, as Cohen says he was doing in his follow-up piece on the responses he’s gotten after the original aired. It’s individual and personal. It’s about me. It’s about you. And thousands of other people that Cohen has never worked with in any way.

    I think that statement is probably one of the biggest reasons many folks in our industry have taken offense. Because he was speaking directly about each of them.


  2. Trust me, there have been plenty of times when these types of comments raise my ire (when Chris Anderson’s “Wired” blast came out, I was ready to put up my gloves and fight!). But there was something about this that made me think, “You know what? I’m not going to take this personally.” Sure, this guy was stereotyping an entire industry, and as with most stereotypes, most of the time it’s an over-generalized, uneducated account of a larger group.

    Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like people talking smack about my profession any more than lawyers or used car salesmen appreciate their industry’s jokes, either. I know Cohen was wrong, because I (as I’m sure you do, too) work with tons of amazing, ethical, professional PR people every day. That fact helps me brush comments like his off to the side – at least until my vacation ‘zen’ wears off and I get fired up about the next attack! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting, David. Your insight is always appreciated!

  3. I agree. That’s why I laughed off most of it. His generalizations were so over-the-top it was crazy. That’s the only reason why the one, aformentioned comment got a little under my skin. It wasn’t general, but personal.

    I, too, decided not to add to the chorus, mostly because I didn’t want to give Cohen more credit than he deserves.

    And, on another note, I’m completely jealous of your vacation zen. Maybe I can steal my family away sometime soon, too, for a little R&R.


  4. Yeah, you have to (laugh at most of it), or otherwise it just bogs you down from the other things that need attention.

    Hope you can take that vacation soon! I’m already wishing I could take another one.

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