Surfing the net for a daily fix to satisfy my addiction to the fast-approaching presidential election, I happened upon a blog post by Richard Laermer on Bad Pitch Blog — PR, Politics & The Politics of PR. In it Laermer talks about the need for PR practitioners, especially in service related industries, to tread lightly when talking and blogging about personal political stances during elections. Laermer said that even though it may be a casual blog “It is dangerous, still. No matter how cool you are about saying something, the art of offending people is easy in a sensitive political year like this,” adding that it is wiser to be cautious about what postion and opinions you make public because, after all is said and done, “it will be business as usual” when election time is over.
The post made me think about business relationships among PR practitioners and their clients. As PR professionals, what are the objectivity guidelines for the voicing of personal political views? Are they the same as jounalists? That as communicators with the potential to reach mass audiences we should be wary of voicing our views in fear of being labeled biased. Personally, I consider myself a citizen first, pr professional second. I believe that I am capable of feeling strongly about improtant issues, such as the presidential election, without those feelings affecting how I do my job or represent my client. I also am dismayed at the thought that just because we are professional communicators we cannot engage in conversations with others in fear that we may be labeled as one thing or another. After all, isn’t that how we learn to undersatnd and accept others and their views, by openly sharing ideas.
I’m curious what others think. How do the personal speculations of a PR practitioner, on a blog or in a casual conversation, affect how they are seen by current and prospective clients and what dangers do political labels have on a PR practioner?