The world’s biggest PR firm claims to be an expert on trust – but is it?
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: January 22nd, 2023
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the public relations juggernaut Edelman will publish the latest edition of its “trust barometer”, an annual survey that purports to measure whether people around the world trust businesses, governments, NGOs and the media. There’s just one problem: even as Edelman promotes its brand and pursues clients with stern warnings about the importance of trust, critics charge the company appears reluctant to follow its own advice. The firm’s clients have ranged from ExxonMobil to the Saudi government and members of the Sackler family, the former owners of the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma. Successful PR firms do more than simply promote and spin – they actually infuse the public discourse with their clients’ perspectives. “These companies are trying not just to manage trust, but to make trust,” [media studies professor Melissa] Aronczyk said. “And if they themselves are the owners of that survey, or barometer, or whatever it is, then, of course, they become the proprietors of that kind of value.” Edelman’s most effective case study might be the firm itself. It has managed to cultivate a reputation for trust even as its business model appears regularly to contradict its advice and its CEO’s admonitions. Over the past four years Edelman has signed about $9.6m worth of deals with the government of Saudi Arabia and companies controlled by the regime, while simultaneously urging businesses to stand up for human rights.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.