Journal of Mass Media Ethics
Advocates of dialogic communication have promoted two-way symmetrical communication as the most effective and ethical model for public relations. This article uses John Durham Peters’s critique of dialogic communication to reconsider this infatuation with dialogue. In this article, we argue that dialogue’s potential for selectivity and tyranny poses moral problems for public relations. Dialogue’s emphasis on reciprocal communication also saddles public relations with ethically questionable quid pro quo relationships. We contend that dissemination can be more just than dialogue because it demands more integrity of the source and recognizes the freedom and individuality of the source. The type of communication, such as dialogue or dissemination, is less important than the mutual discovery of truth. Reconciliation, a new model of public relations, is proposed as an alternative to pure dialogue. Reconciliation recognizes and values individuality and differences, and integrity is no longer sacrificed at the altar of agreement.