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October 3, 2013
Don't Look for Effective Public Relations in Washington Just Yet
 
An editorial in the Burlington Free Press in Burlington, Vermont, on the House Republicans' maneuvering over the federal government shutdown illustrates nicely why so many people consider "public relations" to be an empty, callous term, rather than the constructive one it's intended to be.

"The trio of mini-funding bills offered up by House Republicans," the editorial begins, "lay bare the cynical self-interest behind what's being promoted as an effort to reopen at least a part of the federal government.

"Restoring funding for national parks and museums would address a public relations nightmare for which the GOP is taking the lion's share of the thumping..." That's one of the expedient moves the bills' Republican sponsors would make to ease the hardships the shutdown is causing. And that would supposedly be good public relations.

Bosh! Bear in mind that public relations at its best is an effective, honest communication process. Really good public relations would involve Congress working together with the President to identify national needs and challenges and fund them effectively. Then, they'd have the courage to ask the American people, the beneficiaries of effective government, to underwrite its costs.

Thus, the chances of effective public relations occurring in the current standoff are miniscule. Posturing isn't good PR; healing the political process would be.  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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