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Ethics

To Protect and Serve…Yourself? NYPD Allegedly Steals from Suspect

rainy nypd

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was THIS close to becoming a police officer.

Back when radio and news weren’t paying too well, I spent six years working as a police dispatcher in North Texas. Even taught a little self-defense. However, PR was calling me and I answered. Nonetheless, I love those boys and girls in blue.

No one really knows what those civil heroes deal with on a daily basis. In most cases, the folk who cause drama for the police simply suck. That said, when I see different videos like the one after the jump — which allegedly shows an NYPD officer stealing $1,300 from a suspect – I want to forget all of that.

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VICE Discovers the Ethical Perils of Corporate Sponsorship

VICE-logo

Looks like the cool kids sometimes get tripped up on ethics, too.

According to reports posted earlier this week, VICE — the very organization that inspired Edelman to make a call to defend itself for working on sustainability projects while representing clients who deny climate change — has occasional brushes with conflict-of-interest problems.

A post on Gawker and one on Capital New York both demonstrate how VICE editors worked to squash stories that could have reflected badly on corporate sponsors and/or media partners.

This is really a classic PR/media condundrum.

SPOILER: It’s about the money.

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White House Hosts Dinner for Indian Prime Minister…While He’s Fasting

obama dinner

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the United States this week. In fact, he’s stopping by the White House, and as is customary when a foreign leader or head-of-state stops by 1600 Pennsylvania, the president will pull out the Red Carpet treatment.

Pomp. Circumstance. Dignitaries. And of course, a White House dinner.

While the chef is shopping at the Farmer’s Market in Georgetown preparing a seven-course meal fit for a prime minister, someone may want to inform the White House about one big dilemma. Prime Minister Modi is in the middle of a fast. You know, he’s not eating. At all.

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No One Wants to Admit to Repping Big Tobacco

NO SMOKING OK

Remember the Edelman-driven CVS initiative in which the pharmacy chain announced its plans to stop selling tobacco in its stores? How about the Truth anti-smoking spots created to shame celebrity tokers?

These felt like somewhat bold responses to a serious health epidemic. Were they, though? Or were they simply a reflection of a new societal consensus? This week we discovered an unsurprising fact: no one wants to admit to representing major tobacco companies. They have entered a class of client best labeled “forbidden.”

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John Boehner: ‘Unemployed People…Don’t Think They Have to Work’

boehnerIf you ever had any doubt that the primary job of our current and future Congress is to look out for the little guy, may we present exhibit A: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, which amounts to 51 million people currently out of work and unable to support themselves. No one except those 51 million individuals knows how they landed in such an unfortunate predicament, and the reasons are legion: cutbacks, loss of revenue, unpleasant bosses…the point is that people are out of work.

Yet Speaker Boehner seem to have access to insights unavailable to the rest of us mere mortals: last week, he told a crowd at a conservative think tank that unemployed Americans just don’t want to work; they’d rather “just sit around.”

Remember that this man has a driver, a government salary, and a book deal.

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FOX News Loses Copyright Lawsuit Against TVEyes

fox-news-occupy-wall-street-occupysomething

Last July, the head honchos at FOX News caught an ill wind blowing about a Connecticut-based company called TVEyes, which was recording snippets of the network and selling it to others. They were like any other media clipping service, but because people used TVEyes’ product to criticize FOX News, Rupert Murdoch wanted to shut ‘em down.

The lawsuit accuses TVEyes of misappropriating “the entirety of the works that Fox News has developed at great expense and to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform and/or to publicly display verbatim copies of the works” without authorization.

And in the spirit of Public Enemy, the company decided to “Fight the Power.” Fast forward to yesterday when TVEyes did the unthinkable: They ‘brought the noise’ and beat FOX News.

Here’s what happened. Read more

Texas Firm Admits to Bribing Journalists for Coverage

money bags

Well, maybe “bribing” is too strong a word. What’s a synonym for “we will pay this supposedly objective journalist for giving our client favorable coverage?”

In a story that seemed destined to break during PRSA’s Ethics Awareness Month, a Texas firm sheepishly admitted to offering a CNBC freelancer money to include their client in a story.

Guilty pitch email after the jump (emphasis ours).

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Oxymoronic? September Is PRSA’s ‘Ethics Awareness Month’

ethics

The Public Relations Society of America has declared September to be “Ethics Awareness Month.”

This is a banner under which public relations practitioners everywhere should march. Strict ethical guidelines should be that fundamental to an industry that specializes in repairing and maintaining reputations. But does establishing a month for PR types focus on ethics even matter any longer? Does ethics carry as much of a place of importance as it should in this industry?

The younger this industry gets, the more ethics should matter.

How are we doing on that front?

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SEC Charges Investor Relations Exec with Insider Trading

US-ARCHITECTURE-SEC

In news that points toward the darker side of financial PR, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced this morning that it would charge an executive at a top Manhattan investor relations firm with crimes related to insider trading.

The charge is surprisingly simple: Michael Anthony Dupre Lucarelli, director at Manhattan’s Lippert/Heilshorn Investor Relations, allegedly used clients’ unpublished press releases to guide his own investments — and made more than half a million dollars in the process.

The case is notable in that it differs from the common narrative regarding automated trades made with the help of robotic press releases that may run afoul of the law by giving certain traders an advantage that ultimately adds up to fractions of a second.

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What We Should All Learn From Edelman’s Commitment to Become Its Own Client

Edelman ReputationEdelman PR has been in a bad way lately — not for their client outreach efforts but for what they have done to themselves.

First, the global independent juggernaut caused a small kerfuffle by taking a stance against all those pesky “climate change skeptics.” Given their ardent statements of commitment to the cause, this didn’t go over too well.

Then, the agency thought that using Robin William’s unfortunate death to start a conversation about effective pitching would be a good idea. Many disagreed and they apologized, but no one really listened.

Now, Edelman will start to consider itself as a client. Question from the rest of us: What took so long? 

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