O’Dwyer Continues PRSA Witchhunt by Demonstrating Lack of Civics Knowledge

O'Dwyer's Witchhunt "They Turned me Into a Newt!"

A while ago, Jack O’Dwyer continued his “PRSA Smear a Day” campaign with another digression into the bizarre.  Here are some of my favorite parts:

[In an attack on PRSA Ethics Chair, Prof Deborah Silverman] “Teachers and scientists do not turn their backs on information but seek every last scrap of it with zeal. They prize the historical record of anything and listen to all voices. Facts and knowledge are revered, not feared.”

  • This is a standard O’Dwyer tactic: to attempt to besmirch a target of an interview with their employer by calling co-workers and supervisors and even writing about the employer themselves in an attempt to bully the subject into talking to him.  It’s easy to understand why very few people return O’Dwyers’ calls.

[Describing the limitations placed on his coverage of PRSA International Conferences] “Freedom of the press is a right granted by the First Amendment to the Constitution and in America an accused person has the right to face his or her accusers.”

  • Among the numerous problems with this sentence are:
    • PRSA is a private organization, not required by law to allow any news media to attend (nor subject to the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Meetings Act).
    • No one is infringing on O’Dwyer’s First Amendment rights – he’s free to probe and blog to his heart’s content.
    • The “Confrontation Clause” (the right to face accusers) is part of the Sixth Amendment, not the First – and it only applies to persons charged with a crime.  But then O’Dwyer never claimed to be a legal scholar.

[Describing his further grievances against PRSA] “Withholding transcripts of the Assembly since 2005 and refusal to provide transcripts of teleconferences. These are like the “slow-motion” replays that are common in sports journalism that give fans needed details.”

  • Why would PRSA send transcripts of meetings to someone who mines them looking for dirt?  Just look at the “reporting” on Gail Baker that O’Dwyer dredged up from previous columns – there’s no proof of wrongdoing or anything more than a clerical error but the assertion made is that there was foul play involved.  I think I speak for the majority of PRSA members when I say that I would find it difficult to speak candidly if I knew a scandal-monger was going over everything I said with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Transcripts are available to members of PRSA, so it’s not as though they need O’Dwyer to provide that service.
  • Besides – PRSA has evidence that O’Dwyer’s company has hacked into the phone calls and the organization’s members-only website.  He should have all of the information he needs from those illicit activities.

[Another of O’Dwyer’s Grievances] “5. Blocking PR reporters from accessing the audit or quarterly reports. They are in the members’ area and reporters are not allowed to join the Society. No reason is given for this. Reporters are members of PR groups including IABC and IPRA.”

“14. Refusal to investigate or disavow threats of physical violence made in person and in a letter to Jack O’Dwyer by an Assembly delegate following the 2010 Assembly. VP-PR Arthur Yann has e-mailed that a national director witnessed this incident.”

  • If O’Dwyer doesn’t know the name of the person who threatened him, how does he know that person was a PRSA assembly delegate?

“15. Refusing to compensate numerous authors after selling hundreds of thousands of copies of their articles from 1980-94. An expose by O’Dwyer’s ended the practice.”

  • The only “author” requesting compensation is O’Dwyer, and despite his above discussion about jurisprudence he has not filed suit against PRSA.  As I said earlier – fish or cut bait, man.

A Rhetorical Question

O’Dwyer insists he’s a journalist and that his rights are being infringed by the Public Relations Society of America. If he really is a journalist covering the public relations world, wouldn’t that mean that he devote proportionally the same amount of investigative and editorial attention to all of the professional organizations that represent public relations professionals?

After all, PRSA isn’t the only game in town.  There are other groups also advocating on behalf of the public relations profession:

  • International Association of Business Communicators (www.iabc.com) | 15,000 members
  • International Public Relations Association (www.ipra.org) | >1,000 members
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (www.case.org) | 64,000 members
  • National Investor Relations Institute (www.niri.org) | 3,500 members
Doing a quick search of O’Dwyer’s blog (at the time of drafting this post) – here are the total number of stories that mention each organization:
  • International Association of Business Communicators – 18 entries
  • International Public Relations Association – 7 entries
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education – 0 entries
  • National Investor Relations Institute – 7 entries
  • Public Relations Society of America – 236 entries
Looks a little lopsided for a “journalistic” organization, don’tcha think?

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