Toxic Sludge is Good for You is an accumulation of real life PR situations that depict the worst of the worst in the American public relations industry. The authors tell one side of the story by naming names and revealing how they worked their magic to manipulate and deceive the public. The book exposes bogus news, made up ‘grassroots” organizations, public relation spies, and other methods to demonstrate how information that comes from corporations, politicians, and other governments can be skewed and controlled before it reaches the masses.
Toxic Sludge is designed to shock readers by stressing the negative side of each circumstance; even though the information presented is a left wing point of view I do believe the work is a justifiable criticism of the PR industry because the tactics used were harmful to American democracy and in some cases the health and wellbeing of the public at large. According to an analysis by Dr. Donn Tilson, accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), not all PR practitioners utilize such tactics, however, many do and that type of PR poses a threat to democratic values, he goes on to state, “it is ultimately a manifestation of the deeper contradictions in corporate America...the road back to a truly democratic society lies in educating ourselves about the power of propaganda in our lives” (Tilson, 1997). As the general public continues to educate itself about the practices (good and bad) in the field of PR it is even more important that our firm maintain professional procedures that are in-line with the PRSA code of ethics.
The authors do eventually (pg. 205) acknowledge that some may see the book as trying to enrage the public just to sell books. In fact, Ron Levy, P...
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...tive that our top executives lead by example. (Bowan, 2007)
Bowan, S (2007). Ethics and Public Relations. Retrieved on February 14, 2012 from : http://www.instituteforpr.org/topics/ethics-and-public-relations/
Firestoned. (2001). Advertising Age, 72(23), 16.
Schwarze, S. (2003). Corporate-State Irresponsibility, Critical Publicity, and Asbestos Exposure in Libby, Montana., Management Communication Quarterly, 16(4), 625.
Schwarze, S. (2003). Corporate – State Irresponsibility, Critical Publicity, and Asbestos Exposure in Libby, Montana. Management Communication Quarterly, 16(4), 625.
Swift, P. (1995). Public Interest Reporting. Public Relations Quarterly, 40(3), 4-5.
Tilson, D. (1997). Toxic Sludge is Good for You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Book). World Communication, 26(1), 62.
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