PRception

June 8, 2008

If all PR Practitioners are Liars, all Lawyers are Murderers

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 10:14 am

On June 1, 2008, CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen wrote a scathing article about the public relations industry. Being that Cohen is a lawyer, I was surprised by the flimsy reasoning he used to make his case. Cohen argues that because one public relations practitioner (former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan) was dishonest, every other individual practicing public relations is dishonest as well. Apparently, the actions of one man are reflective of an entire profession.

For the sake of argument, let’s suppose Cohen’s argument stands up to reason. That would mean we could apply that same logic to judge other professions as well. I think everyone can see where I’m going with this. A quick Google search for “disbarred lawyers” yields thousands of examples of lawyers acting dishonestly. Wikipedia is considerate enough to provide a list of some of the U.S.’s most infamous disbarred lawyers, some who were even convicted of murder (gasp).

According to Cohen, these dishonest and criminal lawyers make it fair to conclude that not only are all lawyers dishonest, but they’re all dishonest murderers. In fact, Cohen is a lawyer himself, which means he too is a dishonest murderer! Does anybody think it’s a bit hypocritical for a dishonest murderer to condemn an entire profession because he thinks its deceitful?

Obviously, I’m being facetious. A statement like “all lawyers are dishonest murderers” is ridiculous and unfair, but you can see how applying Cohen’s style of logic can lead to such absurdity.

As far as I can tell, there are only three reasons why Cohen would write such an article. One, he has a personal agenda to discredit the public relations industry. Two, he’s using McClellan’s admitted dishonesty as an opportunity to be self-righteous. Or three, he’s an idiot. I personally think it’s a combination of all three.

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