Here are a few things Mr. Edelman has to say about PR companies (hopefully not taken too much out of context, but you can check that for yourself by clicking on his blog link).
How serious is it for PR that the man who runs the foremost center for press and public policy in the US is fundamentally skeptical about our profession?
.....it is time for us to recognize that with our enhanced opportunity comes a very real responsibility.
Tell both sides of every story. We can be more credible by listing the side effects along with the demonstrable benefits.
Empower employees to shape the company image.
Total transparency as to the motive and the funding source.
We need to improve the practice of public relations.
ProPr had a few comments about Edelman PR and transparency.
That’s where Wal-Mart came up short. They used their PR firm’s bloggers and the credibility those bloggers had built up to speak directly to other bloggers. But for the rest of us, people outside of their carefully targeted direct blogger pitch, we could not see what the company was up to. The fact that their activity was discovered resulted from the slipshod practices of a few bloggers who quoted verbatim from the material Edelman/Wal-Mart provided to them, without attribution.
So, true transparency was not achieved. And the resultant uproar should prove a cautionary tale for all.
So do PR firms have the obligation to tell both sides of a story when representing a client? Should PR firms encourage the client it represents (Wal-Mart) to talk about side effects? Should there really be total transparency when representing a client? Should Wal-Mart employee's be empowered to shape the company image?
Maybe I'm just confused about what Mr. Edelman is trying to say.