Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 6

PR and Politics

As evidenced in a recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune–Review, politicians are becoming increasingly aware of how important a role public relations plays in political agendas.

The article reported that approximately $1 million was spent on spokespeople for various government agencies over the past year. The average amount per spokesperson was $60,000 per year. In the past, public relations was considered a minor position on the political hierarchy, but several events over the last decade have demonstrated just how important a good public relations program can be.

The fact that President Clinton emerged relatively unscathed from all of his troubles is a testament to crisis management. Without astute public relations advice, the former President could easily have met political and personal failure. Instead, he continues to garner positive press for public appearances.

President Bush and Saddam Hussein today are waging the most critical public relations campaigns. This international strategic match is being played for the ultimate stakes – peace or war. Bush needs the international support that he is attempting to gain through his campaign, while Hussein and his spokespeople are trying to portray the tyrant as an innocent victim with Bush waging a “mad campaign” of vengeance.

Another reason for the recent emergence of public relations in politics is that political issues have become more complex. A good communications manager can present complex issues in a way that makes sense to the general public.

A final reason is that since the media covers political activities more closely now than ever before, there is a stronger case for structured public relations programs. When virtually every move and activity is analyzed, it is important for any government entity to present its case in the best light.