All of us voters have memorized the sound bites that we have been given by both parties to the upcoming presidential election.
(Unfortunately, many of them have been swallowed whole by voters who simply don't know or are ignoring the facts.) Case in point: the difference between a soccer mom and a pig, according to the Republican VP nominee, is lipstick. Obama says you can't put lipstick on that pig. (That's also shorthand for the ethical foundation of public relations: always tell the truth.) It doesn't surprise me but pundits are sure to have a heyday with the Public Relations Society of America's (PRSA) media advisory last week issuing formal challenges to both the Dems and the Pubs asking them to commit to high standards of ethical practice in their campaign communications. In a letter to Robert Gibbs (Obama for America) and a letter to Jill Hazelbaker (John McCain 2008), PRSA Chair&CEO Jeffrey Julin, on behalf of the PRSA Board of Directors, asks the campaigns to sign a formal pledge obligating them to abide by the PRSA Code of Ethics in all communications, stating that:
"The use of innuendo, incomplete information, surrogate messaging and character attacks, whether in political discourse or other forms of commercial free speech, raises serious concerns for our organization and its 32,000 members, each of whom signs a pledge to the PRSA Code of Ethics. In fact, ethical practice is the most important obligation of PRSA membership, and we maintain that our obligations extend not only to those we represent, but also to the publics they serve. We view the code as a model for other professions, organizations and professionals, including political campaigns."
PRSA has not received the signature of representatives from either party. PRSA has set-up a FaceBook group, "Clean&Fair Campaign 2008" to develop grassroots support for the idea of ethical political campaigning. Imagine that.