Sean Spicer, the new White House Press Secretary and Communications Director, is possibly the worst thing to happen to PR in recent memory. This isn’t a partisan rant. If he was behaving the same way for a Democratic president, I’d have the same criticism. While he’s improved slightly since that dreadful performance at the first press briefing, his disregard of facts and truth and his rants at the media are exactly the wrong image for the White House, our country, and our profession.
Even PRSA felt compelled to make a statement on the deluge of unreality coming from the White House. Jane Dvorak, the society’s chair, wrote, “PRSA strongly objects to any effort to deliberately misrepresent information. Honest, ethical professionals never spin, mislead or alter facts. We applaud our colleagues and professional journalists who work hard to find and report the truth.” I can only imagine the cringing in PRSA offices at the Saturday Night Live skewering of him. It’s the stuff of reputation nightmares.
Spicer isn’t the only problem. Former journalist and campaign chair Kellyanne Conway provided her own “alternative facts” to this new version of reality. The two of them contribute to the continued erosion of trust in both the government and the media. Congratulations to our Measurement Menaces of the Month: Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer. ∞
(Thanks to circa for the image.)