Election season and the bipartisan PR practitioner

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?

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2 Responses to Election season and the bipartisan PR practitioner

  1. cate415 says:

    You bring up a point that I think is extremely relevant to not just pr professionals, but all professionals, and those looking to become professionals. It seems when you enter the professional world, to your clients and your coworkers you are a professional first. Therefore, if you choose to present your personal political views, or views on any matter, they will be regarded as your professional views. However, I don’t feel that this should stop people from expressing their viewpoints. Instead, it should just make professionals aware that they are never safeguarded when they express their beliefs. What you say will translate to all aspects of your life, therefore, be aware of how you present yourself to the world.

  2. agilliam says:

    This is an interesting subject and one I have been struggling with recently. When I first registered to vote I chose “independent” as my party, because I did not want to be labeled in anyway. At the time I was not told that this meant I could not vote in either of the presidential primaries. So, last month I updated my voting address and decided to choose a party so that I could be a part of the whole process. Now, I am hearing from people that you really should register as an independent if you are in the PR field. I feel conflicted in wanting my rights as an American citizen to choose a party and therefore get a primary vote, or trying to be a neutral practitioner. I suppose it depends on how strongly you feel about your politics, but if you don’t have a strong opinion then it seems appropriate to just choose “independent.”

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