Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Toxic Publicity?: The Newark Star-Ledger profiles Michael Turner, a public affairs executive at MWW Group, the state's largest PR firm, who specializes in environmental issues management. Author Alexander Lane opens with the line "If builders and polluters are on the dark side of New Jersey's environmental wars,"--an assumption never challenged once throughout the entire article--"Michael Turner is Darth Vader."

There's undoubtedly an interesting story to be written about the tactics employed by industry and its critics during a high-profile environmental battle, but that story would be a lot more nuanced than this lazy effort, which starts with the premise that the world is divided neatly into good guys and bad guys and the author intuitively recognizes which are which. So we get Turner's critics describing him as "more or less a mercenary" and "very pushy, very aggressive, and very arrogant," but can't cite (or weren't asked to) a single instance in which he had done anything unethical or said anything untruthful on behalf of his clients.

In the end, this is the kind of profile that tells you more about its author and his prejudices than about its subject.


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