I'm not sure whose reputation will suffer more from this week's New Yorker article on Walmart -- the PR industry, Edelman or Wal-Mart?
With its usual great reporting style, the New Yorker's Jeffery Goldberg does a beautiful job of explaining just how Wal-Mart uses Edelman and PR in general to achieve its ends. What is really hypocritical is the extent to which Edelman portrays itself as a leader in social media -- an environment that prides itself on honesty and transparency -- and yet practices the worst forms of deception. Steve Rubel are you listening? Not surprisingly, there's no response on the article on his blog.
The article confirms that not only is Greg St. Claire (the mastermind behind Wal-Mart's fake blog about St. Claire's sister's RV trip across the country) still employed by Edelman, despite the storm of controversy he created and the damage he did to Edelman's reputation, but Richard Edelman told the New Yorker “I do believe that it is a real group of real people, as far as I know.” Goldberg goes on to write that: Working Families for Wal-Mart is housed in Edelman’s Washington office; its steering-committee members, some of whom have business ties to the company, were recruited by Edelman.
No wonder PR has a reputation for lying!