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
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
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