I’m Worried About ‘PR’ and the Battering My Profession’s Shorthand Name is Getting in This Post-Election Brouhaha

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Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

Media are reporting President Trump’s inviting Republican state leaders from Michigan to The White House and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s unsubstantiated charges at a recent press conference as just “PR moves.”

What’s a “PR move?”  It’s sounding like a purely theatrical exercise to convince people to believe something is true when unsupported by substance, facts or evidence?

So, is what you’re telling me true or just a lot of PR?   Yikes!  And I’m in PR!  And this is giving my profession a bad name.

In other words, they’re calling Trump and Giuliani’s charges of fraud in vote counting baseless, blatant examples of pure baloney and nothing but a “PR tactic,” which is making PR sound like a code word for phony, factless bunk.

And what profession am I in?  A bunk deliverer?  Yes, if this keeps up, public relations will need some crisis management . . . a reputational overhaul.  I’ll volunteer to head the campaign.

Some media say Giuliani’s making charges of widespread fraud in his recent news conference would have gotten him thrown out of court as he gave not a shred of  evidence to support them.  He explained he couldn’t reveal allegations in sworn statements of witnesses as it would endanger them.  Really?  Was that a PR rimshot?

“We cannot allow these crooks to steal an election,” Giuliani declared at the conference, probably intending that as a good quote that would appear in next day’s news reports and come off as effective, albeit factless, PR!

I don’t mind people like Election Law Expert Trevor Potter calling Trump’s tactics to overthrow the election “dangerous” or “playing with fire,” or President Elect Joe Biden’s calling Trump’s refusal to concede or cooperate in a transition, while casting doubts on a democratically held election “incredible irresponsibility.”

But I do resent calling it all, you know . . . a lot of PR!

Some years ago, I wrote a book titled “SPIN MAN, A Publicist’s Odyssey” before the word “spin” became even more pejorative than PR.  Regis Philbin wrote on the cover “It’s guys like Tom Madden, who make a story out of anything or anybody.  My friend Dick Clark called it “An insider’s look at the world of hype and promotion.”

So, from hype, promotion and making stories out of nothing, has PR sunk to a new low as just baseless and factless PR moves?

Please, I own a public relations firm, TransMedia Group.  And what do we do there for clients is PR, a word you’re throwing around like it’s a gimmick, a charade.  And I resent it.   And you can quote me!

But don’t bury the quote.