TV murder vs. PR blogging

2 03 2009

DexterI’ve given it some thought, and I’ve decided that I’m really glad I’m not Dexter Morgan. I think it’s safe to say that I couldn’t handle the ethical dilemmas that Showtime’s famous blood spatter expert/serial killer overlooks every day. During the day, Dexter plays the part of the upstanding citizen, helping solve crimes with Miami’s police, and during night, he brutally murders the criminals he finds. He justifies his murderous urges by only targeting people who he believes deserve to die because they’ve committed criminal acts. But, how does he make that decision? And why does he get to determine whether or not those people live? Is he any better than those people, or is he just trying to make himself feel better about being a murderer?

Dexter’s twisted issues definitely make for good TV, but boy, am I glad that the ethical dilemmas that arise in PR aren’t nearly as complicated as those in Dexter! For example: ghost blogging – yea or nay? For me, this is much simpler than the question of “to kill or not to kill?” Ghost blogging is a practice sometimes used in PR that I must say I’m not a big fan of. It’s essentially when one person writes a blog as someone else, but does not indicate that it’s not written by the person whose name is on it. Often, communications specialists will write blogs for CEOs or other top management, but it is never indicated that this is what’s happening. To me, a blog is a place for personal thought and opinions, not a place for standardized corporate messages. If a CEO doesn’t have time to write a blog, then they shouldn’t have one – it’s as simple as that. Maybe… this is where the line of ethics becomes a little blurred for me.

While I don’t agree with basically lying and saying that something is written by another person, I think that the practice of semi-ghost blogging can be ok. Provided that the CEO actually sits down with the blog writer to discuss what should be in the blog post, and it’s noted in the blog that the post’s messages are from the CEO, but prepared by the communications specialist, then perhaps it’s ok. I’m just not comfortable with one person’s ideas being passed off as another’s. Like I said before, I believe that a blog is a place to express personal views, so as long as the views in the blog are completely those of the CEO, and credit is given to the writer, then I think I can get behind that.

Anyway, I think the real question here is: With his twisted “ethical” justifications, would Dexter support the practice of ghost blogging, or would he murder a ghost blogger for being dishonest? If I were a fictional Showtime PR professional, I think I’d avoid it, just to be on the safe side.