Academic journal article The Journalism Educator

Books -- the Credibility Factor: Putting Ethics to Work in Public Relations by Lee Baker

Academic journal article The Journalism Educator

Books -- the Credibility Factor: Putting Ethics to Work in Public Relations by Lee Baker

Article excerpt

Baker, Lee (1993). The Credibility Factor: Putting Ethics to Work in Public Relations. Homewood, Ill.: Business One Irwin. 319 pp. Hardback, $35.

The word is out about Lee Baker's book on ethics. Unfortunately, it's the wrong word.

Colleagues keep referring to Baker's The Credibility Factor: Putting Ethics to Work in Public Relations as a "text." It's not. It's not a stand-alone tome you can build a course around. And that's too bad. Media ethics teachers sorely need a tightly reasoned, philosophically astute, and readable PR ethics text.

Yet the preachy, irritatingly shallow Credibility Factor can't be curtly dismissed. It probably should and probably will make its way onto ethicists' reference book shelves and supplementary reading lists because it:

* Gives vivid illustrations of moral dilemmas PR practitioners sometimes face.

* Provides authentic examples of ways in which certain PR folk have struggled with and resolved moral conflicts.

* Presents the opinions of prominent PR practitioners who testify, in effect, that immorality or amorality doesn't pay.

* Details notable--now historic--examples of corporate amorality involving public relations persons. For instance, Baker recounts such events as Dow Corning's disinformation campaign concealing the dangers of its silicone breast implants, Exxon's efforts minimizing the gravity of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and General Dynamic's plundering of the defense budget. …

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