Sean Spicer is an embarrassment to PR.
He was an embarrassment in January, when in a fascist-style diatribe of propaganda, he infamously repeated his boss’ false claims.
He was an embarrassment when he said, in response to a question about Syria, “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” He also referred to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers.”
He was an embarrassment when he continued, day after day, to lie his way through press briefings.
He was an embarrassment when he insisted on turning briefings into circus acts, demanding cameras be turned off or go outside or whatever shenanigans he could muster instead of doing what press secretaries, Republican and Democrat, have always done.
He was an embarrassment when making light of his malpractice to the public on the Emmy Awards show.
PR professionals can be famous. Can in point, previous press secretaries such as Ari Fleischer, Mike McCurry and others are well-known and well-respected in business, politics and beyond. But PR professionals shouldn’t be celebrities. Apparently, that’s the end game for Spicer.
He is a stain on us all.
As I wrote in January, White House PR has as much in common with what locally-owned, independent firms do as “Miami Vice” does with your local suburban police department. But most people don’t understand that. Political PR is the only form on display on a daily basis.
He’s now represented by a speakers’ bureau. He’s “hanging out his shingle” trying to get, of all things, crisis communications business from corporations. What’s his advice going to be? Do whatever you have to do to protect your boss? Sell your soul at a chance for celebrity?
Believe it or not, there is a code of ethics for this profession. See it for yourself and determine how Spicer stacks up.
One important tenet is independence: “We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.” How do you make an exception for him?
Disappointingly, someone will see stars in their eyes and hire him for some sort of consultation. That will truly be a sad day for our business – one that can’t afford too many more hits.