The thing about having a real, live journalist like Dan Gillmor living in the bloggerhood is that he'll open your eyes to stuff you should pay attention to. We all heard the story of the Williams,
(will shill for food) story that broke...when?...last week? See, that's an indication of my ignoring this case; I'm not even sure when it became public, and I won't insult your intelligence by Googling the thing to make it look like I'm on top of it.
So, why am I coming to the party just when the "shoot horses" dancers are out on the floor? Because of this line I found in Jay Rosen's blog (which Dan led me to like a thirsty pinto):
Trust has something to do with rising to the occasion.
Indeed, it does. It's easy to be trustworthy when the stake are low. It's when the stakes are high that I can tell how much I really can trust you. That doesn't mean any of us is beyond reproach. Far from it.
The sordid story of PR's practices in the Williams case (itself pretty nasty), leads me to believe even more deeply than I did before that current ways of doing business in the "influence world" are even worse than I thought. I know there are ethical practitioners in all disciplines, but when prevailing practices seem to permit waiting for the client to disclose something you designed with the intent of him not disclosing, something's pretty wrong.
At the same time, Rosen's admonition of blogger-silence is a cold splash of water in the face of the heady belief that a new kind of "truth squad" is on the loose out here, watching for wrong-doers of all stripes. Fact is, bloggers (including Mr. TrueTalk, here) haven't had much to say about this one.