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Attorney/Adversary Model Barney and Black (1994)

This model makes several assumptions as its creators attempt to compare lawyers to public relations practitioners. According to Barney and Black, these two professions are alike in two ways:

  1. Both are advocates in an adversarial climate
  2. Both assume counterbalancing messages will be provided by someone else.

In this model of public relations ethics, Barney and Black suggest practitioners have no obligation to consider the public interest or other outside points of view. Because they assume a counterbalancing message is someone else's job, public relations practitioners should only consider the view of their client in their decision-making process.

Those who oppose this approach to public relations ethics cite differences between the conditioners under which lawyers and PR practitioners operate. Lawyers practice in a court of law where fairness and equal representation are guaranteed. PR professionals work in the court of public opinion. Opponents say because a counterbalancing message is not guaranteed, practitioners cannot afford to overlook the public interest in ethical decision-making.

Responsible Advocacy

Enlightened Self Interest
Two-Way Communication
Attorney/ Adversary