PR Campaigns – The blog

September 12, 2008

An ethical challenge

Filed under: Prof. Gilpin — drgilpin @ 5:51 am
Tags: , ,

I just wanted to point everyone to this PRSA news release, which challenges the communication directors of both major US political parties to uphold the PRSA code of ethics for the duration of the electoral campaign.

Since this post ties into our ongoing discussion of ethics, as well as this week’s reading and discussion of propaganda, I would love to know what you think about this announcement. Is it a good idea for PRSA? Why or why not? Do you think it would be a good idea for the campaigns to openly accept the challenge? Why or why not? If you were a campaign communication director, what would you do? Do you think the Democrats and/or Republicans will take PRSA up on the challenge?



  1. I’m not sure about this being a good idea for PRSA, I can’t think of why it would be bad, but anytime you release something on a national scale there is a chance for trouble. However, I think it would be an excellent idea for the campaigns to accept the challenge. It would show that they have ethics and maybe gain some trust from the American people.
    If I were the communications director I hope that I would accept the challenge, because I would hope that I would already be following the code of ethics. I realize that this may be naive, since it seems to be an “attack or be attacked” political game out there.
    Sadly, I do not think that either of the political parties will accept this challenge, although they will probably both say that their campaigns are ethical…and I wonder why the American public doesn’t trust politicians?

    Comment by agilliam — September 13, 2008 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

  2. I think it should go without saying that campaign communication professionals should act ethically. As far as PRSA releasing a national challenge, I kind of think it is a futile effort. Even if the cmapaing members sign the agreement, I believe, being the professional communicators that they are, it is easy enough to misinterpret what one person says is and what another says is not ethical behavior. Besides, as far being prompt about corrections, etc., if working for a news organization has taught me anything it’s once a false or erroneous statement is released, the damage is done.

    Comment by asbrooks04 — September 14, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  3. I think this is a good idea but I think this is a PR stunt on the part of PRSA. This is a way to get there name in the press. It is also to push the fact that they have a code of ethics and most all of the people in the organization follow them. They are trying to turn public opinion of the PR industry in their favor.

    I am not sure if it is a good idea for the campaigns to openly accept the challenge. Although I know what I would do if I were the communication director; I would look to see how much press this story is getting and then make a decision. If there seems to be an outcry that this is a good idea I would agree to it. I am not entirely sure if it would be good to the overall campaign. I also don’t think that the Democrats or the Republicans will take up PRSA on the challenge.

    Comment by erikanp2004 — September 14, 2008 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  4. This is rediculous. The PRSA wants these people to sign a pledge. This reminds me of something a high school sports program would do to keep their atheletes away from drugs or alcohol. Being ethical is up to the individual. While all should practice good ethics, signing a pledge is just silly.
    Both campaigns should aknowledge the fact that the “challenge” has been issued and assure their audiences that they always strive to be as ethical as possible. By accepting the challenge, it may be infered that there have been un-ethical decisions made in the past and that things will now be fixed. Neither party should take this “challenge” seriously.

    Comment by davemerenda — September 15, 2008 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  5. I think that the PRSA should not even have to send out a press release at all to remind campaigns to apply the code of ethics during the campaign because it should already be in place, however, the fact that they did this emphasizes that perhaps politics in America has lost touch with what should and should not be done, just for the sake of winning. The code of ethics should not be considered a challenge to overcome, but instead should be a necessity to always be used.

    Comment by cate415 — September 16, 2008 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

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