This blog is an open e-mail to PR Society COO Bill Murray, whose lies and insults have reached excessive levels.

His 1,089-word Oct. 4 e-mail to consumer advocate Christopher Elliott repeats the lie that the National Press Club “conceded” wrongdoing by this reporter when it did no such thing.

Murray, in the same e-mail, insulted New York State Senator Liz Krueger by charging her with unfairness in refusing to meet with him.

Murray and PRS leaders are the last ones to complain about failure to get a hearing since they regularly deny that to this reporter and many of their most senior members.

Four Fellows who sent them questions in 2010 were ignored.

A group of professors who pleaded for a PDF of the discontinued printed directory of members were ignored. No input from the Assembly was ever obtained on that decision nor on the decision to move h.q. to downtown New York for 14 years.

It’s time for senior PR people to call on Murray and tell him to stop the lying and combat with the press and/or members, just like senior GOP leaders went to President Nixon in November 1973 and told him resignation was the only way to go.

PRS’s reliance on legal concepts, which has cost it $528,423 in law firm bills in the latest seven available years, has been overdone.

The $75K average annual legal bill is the equivalent of having a full-time lawyer on staff. In addition, PRS this summer hired law school grad Stephanie Cegielski as associate director of PR instead of a PR or communications grad.

Lawyers are combatants while PR people are conciliators and mediators. The wrong shoe is on the wrong foot here.

PRS Lies about NPC & SPJ

VP-PR Arthur Yann on Oct. 19, 2011 told the same lie about what NPC said and added another one on what the Society of Professional Journalists said about this reporter.

NPC said PRS described actions of mine that were “unfortunate” and “even highly disagreeable” but NPC did not accept the truth of such charges nor did it use the word “concede” in any of its forms. PRS has falsely injected that word.

NPC, which reiterated its stand last week, said that whatever the charges, and it examined them, they were not enough to bar O’Dwyer reporters from the 2011 conference.

SPJ told this writer that it did not want to get involved in the “dispute” between us and PRS. But the Yann posting said my conduct “prompted SPJ to invite Mr. O’Dwyer to resign his membership.” SPJ did no such thing.

On top of that, Yann then posted on PR Newser March 14, 2012 that PRS “does not maintain a boycott against the O’Dwyer organization or any media outlet.” That denial came after PR Newser editorialized against the boycott.

We would like Yann to tell us the truth about this.

PRS is marred by inconsistent, contradictory policies and practices. It cannot reasonably ignore NPC and Senator Krueger.

Murray Criticizes Krueger

The Oct. 4 e-mail by Murray does not even mention Senator Krueger by name but refers to her as a “sitting politician.” It berates her for backing NPC’s criticism of PRS, which she did “wholeheartedly.” Murray complained she made the criticism “without first asking for our side of the story.”


Senator Krueger listened to the world’s biggest press association, which had had “a very cordial and extended conversation” with executive director Bill McCarren (in the words of Yann himself) and decided that there is “no other side” to a press boycott in America.

The PRS tradition of blocking input will be on display this Saturday at the Assembly. Scheduled are four hours of speeches in the a.m. by 12 leaders and staff with no time allotted for discussion among the delegates. The Assembly, on the one day a year that it meets, is then to be busted up into small chat groups for three hours. Finally, at 4:30 p.m., a “town hall” will take place although a good many of the delegates will be jet-lagged and worn by then.

The odds of a delegate moving at the start of the meeting that the agenda not be adopted are slim to none. This happened only time in PRS’s recent history—1999 when Lee Duffey and Kathy Lewton fought for the post of chair-elect.

Lewton in 2003 argued against changing the agenda after delegate Paul Wetzel said a debate on the APR rule for office-holding and elections should take place in the a.m. when the delegates were fresh. The motion was defeated by a large margin.

A delegate who rises to challenge leaders and staff faces serious consequences not only involving his or her relationship with PRS but in his or her PR career.

O’Dwyer Is “Small NL and Website”

The Murray e-mail describes the O’Dwyer Co. as “a small newsletter and website related to the PR industry.”

Ignored is the monthly O’Dwyer’s magazine which has just published its 56-page October Healthcare issue; O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms now in its 42nd edition and listing 1,700 firms, and O’Dwyer’s PR Buyer’s Guide, now in its 22nd edition and listing nearly 1,000 products and services in 60 categories.

The directories and magazine, as well as the website, help PR firms and service companies to present themselves to clients and have helped bring in billions in business to them over the years.

Unique visitors to totaled 36,429 in the Aug. 27-Sept. 26 period and page views were 182,531. Users spend a lot of time on the site.

The New York Times called O’Dwyer’s “the bible of PR” and rightly so because three major features on PR in NYT were based on O’Dwyer research, the 1,800-word piece by Claudia Deutsch May 31, 1987 detailing the downsizing of corporate PR and the rise of agency PR; Dean Rotbart and the financial press, 1993, and the death of PR queen Denny Griswold, 2001.

Legal Rampage Goes on at PRS

We are far from the only victims of legal overkill by PRS.

Members are confronted with 13-pages of harsh “Terms of Use” rules when they access the members’ area of the website.

On page three they are told PRS “may suspend any account where violations of these TOU policies are suspected. We reserve the right to disable your account at our sole discretion without explanation.”

On page 8 it says searches of the members’ directory and PRS website are “PRS’s own records” and will be reviewed “at any time.” This is PRS spying on its members. The words “sole discretion” (for PRS) appear five times.

Our lawyer says members don’t have to pay any attention to this set of “rules” because “coercion” is involved and it is “not a contract.” There were no negotiations with members. Any member who gets access reduced in any way can charge “theft of services” that were paid for. PRS should have included those rules with the dues invoice.