Information can be power, and the use and practice of persuasion at a public relations agency includes many layers of decisions and choices unseen and usually unappreciated by those outside of the industry.
This is certainly true when the agency is involved primarily in the Christian community, and is seeking to make decisions that are in concert with Christian ethics.
I say all this because my name was in the newspaper Sunday. A long investigative story on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, includes references to my role in using the skills and persuasion of the agency I was with at the time—The DeMoss Group—to help gain Christian and conservative support of Most Favored Nation status for China in 1998.
It’s a long story, and I think an interesting story, about Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and now a political consultant and candidate for Lt. Governor of Georgia. The AJC is writing a lot about Reed these days; this article is about his stealthy ways and use of connections in the Christian community.
In 1998, Reed was our client for a campaign, in which I pulled together a group of missionary organizations who were working in China and would also agree with a statement that it was better for mission work in China if it was open to world trade instead of closed and isolated.
I named this group the Alliance of Christian Ministries in China, and used the group’s identity for some hard-ball publicity, advertising, and lobbying.
I don’t have time to tell you the whole story now, but the AJC article looks at a lot of the details. And it reports on the full-page ad that Reed ran with the ACMC name without telling us—arousing the ire of the Dalai Lama and effectively ending our professional relationship.
It was a long time ago. It’s now hard to imagine China as an isolated giant. And there are still layers of decisions about the use of persuasion and stealthy—some would say deceptive—means to accomplish a laudable mission.