Staying on Message

As it prepares for war with Iraq, the new White House Office of Global Communications (OGC) is "revving up a global effort to defuse its image as arrogant and overbearing," reports Randall Mikkelsen. The State Department is creating an Islamic media center in London to manage U.S. communications with the al Jazeera satellite television network. The OGC is also organizing "daily telephone conference calls to coordinate foreign policy messages among U.S. government agencies and representatives of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. This is supplemented by a 'Global Messenger' e-mail of talking points sent almost daily to administration officials, U.S. embassies, Congress and others." The Bush administration's effort to overcome its arrogant image suffered a blow recently when Europeans responded negatively to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's dismissal of French and German opposition to U.S. war talk as an example of "old Europe" out of touch with the world.