Why Do You Think Some People Accuse Pr Of Being Th Essay

2895 WordsNov 13, 201112 Pages
The accusation that the discipline of public relations is the same as propaganda is a frequently levelled charge. In contemporary society the overwhelmingly negative connotations that the term propaganda carries imply a strength of criticism for public relations itself when the two are considered the same. In considering the merits of the assertion that public relations is the same as propaganda, it is first worth seeking a definition of propaganda. While since the late twentieth century the term has carried negative values, this has not always been the case. The early theorists such as Bernays and Laswell viewed the practice of propaganda as a legitimate practice and as such the term carried fairly neutral overtones (L’Etang, 1998): “Propaganda is the consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group.” (Bernays, 1928) “Propaganda is the control of opinion by significant symbols, or, so to speak, more concretely and less accurately by stories, rumours, reports, pictures, and other forms of social communication. There is a need for a word which means the making of a deliberately one-sided statements to a mass audience. Let us choose ‘propaganda’ as such a word.” (Laswell, 1934) Many public relations practitioners today will recognise their own activities in the context of these two definitions, although they may baulk at the negative overtones of calling their work propaganda. This view is also articulated by Grunig and Hunt (1984) who argue that propaganda forms a part of publicity where “practitioners spread the faith of the organisation involved” although the Grunig and Hunt also observe that this practice often takes place “through incomplete, distorted, or half-true information”. It is useful at this point to look at the assertion that public relations is the same as
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