Where do you stand in the great Trufelman/Cody debate about PR firms contributing to a fund to benefit families of journalists who have been murdered in places like Iraq or jailed in China, host of the Beijing Olympic Games?
Lloyd Trufelman, CEO of Trylon SMR, wrote Feb. 25 on odwyerpr.com (link, sub req'd) that his firm is a financial backer of The Committee to Protect Journalists. “We would all benefit professionally and personally by tangibly supporting our colleagues in the press in their attempt to fulfill their mission as international guardians of integrity and accountability in a world that requires constant vigilance.”
Steve Cody, CEO of Peppercom, calls that nonsense. Commenting March 7 on RepManblog.com, Cody wrote: “With all due apologies to the family and friends of slain journalists, give me a break.” Cody is sick of the gleeful bashing of PR in the press. He joked that he doubted reporters would pony up for a fund called “Committee to Protect PR People.”
Count this blogger on Team Trufelman. Journalists are killed or imprisoned in the quest for truth. It’s the noblest cause. As the great muckraker I.F. Stone pointed out “all governments lie” in their quest to retain power. Izzy could have said many spokespeople of corrupt governments also lie to protect either their own skin or job. The best journalists fought to expose official government lies here connected with Vietnam, Watergate, Iran Contra and Iraq. [Greg Mitchell's "So Wrong for So Long" is an eye-opener about the extent in which the mainstream media caved on the selling of the Iraq war. He did find notable exceptions.]
When he frets about coverage of PR in the press, Cody belittles the vital role of journalism in a free society. Sure the media can be rough, but the majority of PR “bashing” is usually based on the doings of some boneheaded PR people or nitwit strategy.
The PR profession needs a thicker hide. A good start would be to stop dodging the media and take calls from reporters. Step two: send some cash CPJ’s way.
(Photo: Concordia Univ. Magazine)