PRSA’s Julin: Grandstander or a Pollyanna?

We were amused when we first read that PRSA CEO (and MGA president) Jeff Julin sent registered letters to the McCain and Obama campaigns requesting that they commit to “a clean and fair campaign.” Julin’s letters read, in part, “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.”

These letters beg the question: Is Julin just grandstanding, or is he a pollyanna who is woefully ignorant of our country’s 200+ year history of brutal, negative campaigning. Think McCain and Obama are bad? Try Jefferson and Adams. Democracy has always been a blood sport.

But our amusement level went up today when we read Mark Harden’s Denver Business Journal follow-up article on Julin’s efforts. Apparently no one at either campaign is taking the letters seriously, and PRSA is now flailing about “trying to identify contacts [with the campaigns] who could run it up the flagpole.” Replace “run it up the flagpole” with “return our phone calls or emails” and that sounds about right. The lesson: Being irrelevant is bad enough, but proving it so publicly is worse.

4 thoughts on “PRSA’s Julin: Grandstander or a Pollyanna?

  1. On the flip side, at least these nasty campaigns keep the political hacks in their own environment–and far removed from the rest of PR pool.

  2. There isn’t a single large PR agency on the PRSA board of directors. Not exactly the voice of the profession, nor an organization whose “serious concerns” mean a hill of beans to the campaigns.

  3. Jeff Julin’s a good guy and at the very least, you gotta give him credit for trying. There weren’t very many believers that Mayor Hickenlooper could win an election on the issues, and he did – he actually made negative campaigning a liability against his opponents. It was refreshing and proved that campaigns can work without the insane trash talk. Perhaps there’s a chance we can create a national model.

    I know – quit dreaming.

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