I have 99.99% good things to say about Steve Rubel (micropersuasion). He was on a panel discussion with the Bulldog Reporter where I was a fellow panelist last week in NYC. And having read his blog in the past I really do believe his insight on PR is great. And he gets the good in Seth Godin without running around with a purple pain brush trying to interpret it all literally. That said, in PR I firmly believe that a large portion of the strategy must evolve through truthfulness and honesty so it IS the PR practitioners responsibility to filter out icky clients. I found that I cringed when Steve mentioned the spyware company Weatherbug as a client in one of his examples. For fun, check out the historical edits on wikipedia for weatherbug to see the debate "it IS spware" … "it definitely is NOT spyware" … (repeat)
For the corporate defense they do offer a paid product that is spyware free (good) as well as an icky version that will pop-up for you if you don’t understand computers enough to grasp the concept of what you have agreed to (evil). Look… there are people who will sell their organs for the right price. That doesn’t make the practice acceptable. In this case the client is wrong wrong wrong. Client selection does matter in PR. Choosing this client was a mistake. A profitable one, but not something to emulate. Even Edward Bernays eventually worked against tobacco.