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The June issue of the Public Relations Society of America’s E-News reported that CBS has its own rebuttal to its legal analyst’s Andrew Cohen rip about all PR professionals being unethical and liars.

Mr. Gil Schwartz, executive vice president of corporate communications, used smart wit to correct Mr. Cohen on several points including two important ones: the relationships public relations professionals have with their clients and with journalists.

Yes, the PR-journalist relationship can be viewed many ways, but the reality is one cannot exist without the other.

Thank you, Mr. Schwartz, for setting the record straight in such an intelligent and wry manner.

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While questions and debate abound over Scott McClellan’s new book, I don’t understand how CBS News Analyst Andrew Cohen could paint an entire profession as one filled with low-life liars.

“Show me a PR person who is ‘accurate’ and ‘truthful,’ and I’ll show you a PR person who is unemployed” he is quoted as saying during the CBS Sunday Morning show on June 1, 2008.

He went on to imply hypocrisy on the part of the Public Relations Society of America (of which I am a member) because it advocates ethics, accuracy and truth.

I don’t understand how he can connect Mr. McClellan and PRSA. Mr. McClellan doesn’t appear to be a member (his name didn’t show up on PRSA’s online membership directory…and neither did other Bush Administration press secretaries).

In his rebuttal to the “flack” posted by PR professionals on the CBS News Web site, he says this: “Of course, my essay generalized about the PR profession. That’s what 450-word essays do. I am sure there honest and accurate public relations people out there just as there are (somewhere, I suppose) honest journalists and lawyers.”

Sounds to me he just insulted his employer, his colleagues, and himself as he holds degrees in journalism and law from Boston University.

So, can we then assume he, too, is a dishonest and inaccurate legal journalist?

Well, he’s definitely opinionated and apparently unwilling to do a bit of homework to make sure what he is saying is accurate.

For if he indeed had done some basic research, he would have discovered Mr. McClellan’s non-affiliation with a leading organization dedicated to advocating ethics, AND thousands of principled, ethical and hard-working PR professionals — like myself — helping companies, organizations and individuals reach out to help better our society.

But then, what can we expect from someone who doesn’t respect his own profession?

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