Elephants, Donkeys, and PR

Last week I talked about crisis communication and how crucial a PR team is during a crisis. Well, with the presidential election coming up, I thought it would only be appropriate to mix in a little politics into the bowl. As you may know (and if you don’t I’m going to tell you,) public relations professionals usually get a bad rap for what they do. And this is especially apparent in politics. And whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you can see just how hard PR professionals work to make you side with your party’s campaign.

Public relations plays a MAJOR role in the elections. They are essentially in charge of getting people to vote for their associated party. They will create campaigns, work with advertising firms, and also speak to the candidate to prepare them for press conferences. They also run all social media that is associated with their campaign.

Presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The reason I say that they sometimes get a bad rap is because many people blame the PR team for distortion of a situation or false information about a certain candidate. The public may also believe that the PR representatives are trying to sabotage a candidate to that their campaign can have an advantage in winning the public opinion. Although some of this has been proven to be true, it does not mean EVERY public relations professional is like this. Have you ever heard of the term, “when one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch”? That totally applies to this scenario.

I think that people remember that “one rotten apple,” which isn’t fair to the rest of the bunch who are professional and have morals. I think Tim Penning, associate professor and associate director of the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University said it best. “I have been at academic conferences where fellow public relations professors have suggested the PR profession distance itself from politics. I disagree. I think we need to embrace it and work to educate practitioners and the public about the positive role PR people can play by truly working from a public information model in which the goal is to enable informed decision making and not-win-at-all-costs manipulation of public opinion.”

I encourage you to think about this from a PR stand point while you’re watching presidential debates or analyzing campaign strategies in the next few months. Let me know what you think. See you next time!








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