Are there too many PR people?

Several articles and blog posts have highlighted the dangerous—and growing— influence of the PR industry, leading one public relations pro to wonder if they’re right.

Currently, it’s due to our increasing numbers. A recent example—among many—is a May piece in The Economist subtitled “Flacks vastly outnumber hacks.” It compares PR professionals to “urban foxes” and calls us “slime-slingers,” among other things, while positioning bloggers as the new guardians of the truth.

Then there’s the comically passionate jeremiad from TechCrunch that declares war on all of PR-land. Again. Likening PR to “a weed growing out of control,” it singles out Facebook’s team as the “worst of the worst” when it comes to “slimeballishness.” It’s basically a rant against Facebook, but at least it negates the bloggers-as-truth-tellers argument.

Aside from the gratuitous resentment that nearly jumps off the screen, I have to wonder: Are there too many PR people? If there are, does it mean we’re using our influence to distort the truth?

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