Good piece - it's rare to see such unintended irony. But of course, you could do a similar study about any profession and come up with the same, equally ludicrous result.
Obviously, everyone thinks they're the "organizational conscience." In practice, however, it turns out that everyone's morals are tempered by pragmatism, expedience and the herd instinct. Most of us do the best we can in an imperfect world. Some do better than others.
I've known a surprising number of PR people who were honest and hard-working, who made a strenuous effort to pick clients who let them be that way. And I've known masses of journalists who were happy to go with the flow, to write what they were supposed to write, and, above all, to believe what they were supposed to believe. It's relatively rare to hear an editor flat out say: if you write this, you're history. But it's commonplace to see journalists just sort of accidentally not get promoted, for trying too hard to be the "organizational conscience" - espousing unpopular points of view, or speaking out just a little too frankly about an advertiser's product. Most journalism, is, after all, paid for by advertising. In fact, most of us earn a living, maybe indirectly, by flogging a 'product.'
Bill Hicks certainly wasn't wrong to rail against "marketing and advertising." But PR didn't create the idea of self-serving dishonesty; PR was created by a civilization that values honesty far less than ambition and profitability. The worst excesses of PR truly have been ludicrous. It's useful to ridicule such obvious failings of other professions. As long as we don't forget to be embarrassed at the frequently low standards of our own.