Taken from Google Images

Living in close proximity to Washington D.C. all my life, I have taken multiple field trips to the nation’s capital. I’ve seen the House and the Senate first hand. There is no telling how many times I have passed the White House. Though the sites are something of wonder, I am always astounded by the notion that I am in the presence of the nation’s most powerful politicians and policy makers. While I have been extremely fortunate to grow up in one of the most influential places on Earth, I recognize that others across our country still have never seen or experienced the spectacle that is Washington D.C.

Chapter 12 in Sietel’s “The Practice of Public Relations” outlines the significant impact that public relations has on multiple facets of our government. This country has been led by many influential people. Most notably, these leaders have been great orators and communicators. The unique ability to convey a message to the American people in conjunction with a charismatic personality is at the foundation of a strong relationship with the press. In past presidencies, approval ratings have largely been affected by the positive or negative press that a president receives. President Reagan, the Great Communicator, followed seven steps to produce a harmonious atmosphere between the press and his cabinet:

1.       Plan ahead.

2.       Stay on the offensive.

3.       Control the flow of information.

4.       Limit reporters’ access to the president.

5.       Talk about the issues you want to talk about.

6.       Speak in one voice.

7.       Repeat the same message many times.

One of the most important, yet demanding, jobs on Capitol Hill is the President’s Press Secretary. While the actual responsibilities of the press secretary vary in differing perspective’s, the most challenging of conflicts to determine is to whom the press secretary has allegiance. According to some, the press secretary should be at the President’s right hand, helping with policy making, while others argue that the press secretary has loyalties to the press and public, and should not knowingly mislead either. In my opinion, this sounds like quite a quandary that I would not like to find myself in the middle of. On page 255, Sietel underscores the importance for the Press Secretary of keeping a consistent character so that the press will never question whether he/she is speaking to them as a “traditional press secretary, or… as a political partisan.” Consistency, steadiness, and reliability are the pillars of creating positive public relations, and this is of the utmost importance in successfully guiding this country.

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