Branding America, One More Try

"After a failed advertising campaign in the Middle East and then the war in Iraq, which most people in the region opposed, the Bush administration is struggling to find a better way to communicate," reports Sonni Efron. "Plans call for new messages as well as new messengers - including launching an Arabic-language satellite television station to compete with Qatar-based Al Jazeera. The administration's critics argue that the United States can do little to improve its image without major changes in unpopular policies, especially its close alliance with Israel. But some conservatives blame the State Department for doing a bad job of selling what should be an appealing message of freedom and democracy." The U.S. spends $1 billion per year to polish its image abroad, but according to pollster John Zogby, who studies public opinion in many Arab nations, American popularity there has hit "rock bottom." Similar sentiments are being expressed "from Africa to Europe to Southeast Asia," according to the New York Times.