Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Record Eagle Looks at Front Group Issue

The heart of the matter of the whole Meijer-SST-Acme township from the beginning has been the alleged staging of a "front group" by SST and Meijer.

Everything else SST did is normal communication tactics and legitimate PR. But if, as alleged, they staged a 'front group' in order to influence public opinion without allowing the public to make a fully informed decision (i.e. knowing that Meijer, SST were behind the citizens group) then that clearly violates the "disclosure of information" provision of the PRSA Code of Ethics.

Thus far, much of the discussion has been general, or focused on Meijer's violation of state law. But now, the Traverse City Record Eagle is looking more closely at the role of the PR firm and the alleged front group. Citizens make some harsh accusations. Ginny Seyferth continues to make no comment beyond that they are cooperating with the investigation.

She "bristles" at criticism, but I have to say--not specifically denying that the firm was behind a deceptive front group implies that...she can't. She may be hoping the issue fades from the public eye and she can continue unscathed. In the meantime, the PR profession gets a black eye in the public view. That's what bothers me most.

I wish SST would deny the accusation emphatically, or fess up and apologize. And then go and spin no more with their, and the profession's, reputation able to heal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Seyferth caught a decade ago planting "friendlies" in some large company's annual meeting to make sure all the "right" questions were asked?

Is that considered an acceptable PR effort under the PRSA code of ethics?