The late Edward Bernays, who some folks call the “father of modern public relations,” once told the story of a phone call he received from a young woman seeking his PR advice.
“She said she was in public relations,” Bernays told The New York Times. “I asked her what she did. She said she gave out circulars in Harvard Square.”
“Public relations today is horrible,” he said. “Any dope, any nitwit, any idiot can call him or herself a public relations practitioner.”
Bernays said “some people just use public relations as a euphemism for press agentry. A firm sends articles or press releases to newspapers to win favor for a client and it usually ends up in the trash. It’s not only not good PR. It intensifies the antagonism toward the product. I’m pleased to be known as the father of public relations when the field if taken seriously, like law or architecture.”