The answer is yes. If you are going to represent others PR spin at minimum disclose that you are doing so. This is pretty basic stuff and I am amazed that so many bloggers are willing to pass others words off as their own – even if they simply agree with those words at the most basic level.
The NY Times flagged this today:
Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. “All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills,” he wrote.
It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.
Several sentences in Mr. Pickrell’s Jan. 20 posting — and others from different days — are identical to those written by an employee at one of Wal-Mart’s public relations firms and distributed by e-mail to bloggers.
I don’t think the onus is on Edelman here – although Edelman might have posted a blog on this thereby providing full transparency to their actions. (the counterpoint to this is why should a PR agency reveal their tactics in a competitive communications environment – to which the answer is, transparency matters).
The onus is on the bloggers ultimately. Reveal if you are repackaging spin and other content, be transparent.
Thanks to Brett at Sun for flagging this to me.