The Grand Rapids Press carries a front page article today about the PR ethics aspect of the Meijer/SST story.
Ginny Seyferth has spoken to the media and insists she and her firm were ethical. I truly hope so, for everyone's sake. But she wasn't specific beyond a defensive statement. To resolve this clearly, she should say one of two things: either SST did NOT create a 'front group,' or SST does not find such a tactic to be unethical.
I would add that the media and citizens do not need to be experienced in crisis management to be critical of SST or Meijer. We do not need to hold public office to be critical of public officials. But even so, many critics do have such experience, and their experience shows that transparency and humility are far better than denial, avoidance, and pride in a crisis.
Again, the worth of public relations is its contribution to "informed decision making in a democratic society," to once again quote the PRSA Code. My hope is that people will make an informed decision about what public relations really is after hearing multiple views on this issue.