Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Truth vs. Truthfulness

Shawna Polivka

When it comes to any area of communication, truthfulness is key. As stated in the article, “‘Truthfulness’ in Communication is Both a Reasonable and Achievable Goal for Public Relation Practitioners,” there is a difference between telling the truth and being truthful. I believe, that to be a good mass communicator, it is best to tell as much truth to the best of one’s ability. Important facts should not be covered up because someone will find them.

The PRSA Code of Ethics
The Public Relations Society of America has a Code of Ethics that those in the profession should follow. The Code does advise to, “Safeguard the confidences and privacy rights of clients and employees,” but it does warn to, “Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information.” The key word is "truthful," of course.

When it comes to the new Facebook fiasco involving the Burson Marsteller PR firm, I thought they would handle the situation better. They are a PR firm. However, they have begun to take steps in the truthful direction.

According to communication blogger, Neville Hobson, the two executives involved in the dilemma are not going to be fired. Instead, they are going to take classes on ethical PR practices. He suggests the firm follows the steps taken by Edelman to deal with the Wal-Mart client in 2006. This includes, “1) admitting to and apologizing for their unethical behaviour, 2) mounting a training programme for employees at all their offices worldwide, 3) publicly communicating their plans and their actions, and 4) engaging in conversation with anyone who has an opinion about the issues and solutions.”

Truth vs. Truthfulness
In all, I think to avoid a negative light, PR professionals should tell as much truth as possible. Between blogs and Twitter, the truth gets out faster than ever. In trying to sum up difference between the two words, I came across an article from “The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods”
that states, “To fill out the complete measure of what the epithet ‘true’ may ideally mean, my thought ought to bear a fully determinate and unambiguous ‘one-to-one-relation’ to its own particular object.” Be unambiguous. Tell the whole truth.

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