Brand America -- Now With Extra Hype

David Corn critiques Congressman Henry Hyde's notion that Hollywood and Madison Avenue can razzle-dazzle those pesky foreigners who don't like America. "This is ridiculous. Hollywood pushes escapist fiction, and advertising firms try to hornswoggle people into believing they can get laid if they purchase the right car, the right toothpaste, the right beer, or the right cigarette," Corn writes. "But the poohbahs of U.S. foreign policy keep wondering why 'they' still don't love us, and that creates a demand for Hyde's simplistic analysis." Ultimately, actions rather than propaganda will determine the world's opinion of America. "The United States is no cereal. A better package with a new-and-improved label isn't the answer," Corn writes. "America's image is not a product that can be pushed with hype and ads. ('America: Just Like Us.') If the Office of Global Communications does not realize this fundamental -- it's the story, not the script, that counts -- it will end up a box-office flop."