"Following a disastrous 2002 for the public relations industry, the war in Iraq now threatens to blight 2003," Advertising Age writes. "The most immediate problem for PR agencies is the shrinking news hole -- a vital element of campaigns -- now that it appears the war will go on for longer than some expected." Bad news for PR, but advertisers need not worry. "A majority of U.S.
"France's Sodexho Alliance is fending off Congressional bids to strip it of its $880 million food service contract with the U.S. Marines because of the French snub of President Bush's invasion of Iraq," O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "Edelman is our corporate agency of record, and we use it for crisis work," Bonnie Goldstein, a PR staffer at Sodexho's North American headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., told O'Dwyer's. "Rep. Jack Kingman (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asking him to consider transferring the Marines contract to a U.S.-based firm.
"According to recent leaks from the Pentagon, Gen. Tommy Franks and other uniformed war planners argued with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over how many troops and how much armor to commit to the war," writes Lucian K. Truscott IV. "The soldiers wanted more of both," but "Rumsfeld was reportedly among the influential group on the administration war team who predicted that the Iraqi army would quickly fold after it had been shocked and awed. ...
"Clear Channel Communications ... finds itself fending off a new set of
accusations: that the company is using its considerable
market power to drum up support for the war in Iraq, while
muzzling musicians who oppose it. ... The critics ... cite an unusual series of pro-military rallies drummed up
by Glenn Beck, whose talk show is syndicated by Premiere
Radio Networks, a Clear Channel subsidiary. ... Thirteen of those rallies were
co-sponsored and promoted by local Clear Channel stations,
"It's no coincidence that Americans, and others around the world, are echoing the exact same phrases and news bites at the same times with near-military precision. It's the result of a slickly orchestrated public relations campaign on the part of the military and the U.S. government that is borrowing the best practices of the corporate PR world. ... The PR industry, as many may know, was actually started by the military during World War I, when persuasive techniques were developed to recruit soldiers.
Throughout the world, people are witnessing scenes of horror from Iraq on Al-Jazeera, the Arab cable news station. However, Al-Jazeera barely penetrates the United States. The network's newly-launched English-language web site remains down and may not be available for several weeks due to hacker attacks.
If you think you remember that we were promised a quick, easy war, your memory is not faulty. Eric Alterman has gone to the trouble of assembling some of those recent quotes in which Bush administration officials and pundits predicted, not that war is hell, but that it would be heaven. "Support for Saddam ... will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder," predicted Richard Perle.
"The current war has been called the best-covered war in history, and certainly the visuals and reports from 'embedded' reporters have been spectacular, bringing war into our living rooms like never before," Katie Delahaye Paine writes in her PR firm's publication The Measurement Standard. "[T]he embedded reporter tactic is sheer genius. ... The sagacity of the tactic is that it is based on the basic tenet of public relations: It's all about relationships.
Robert Fisk reports that "an Iraqi general, surrounded by hundreds of his armed troops, stands in central Basra and announces that Iraq's second city remains firmly in Iraqi hands. The unedited al-Jazeera videotape, filmed over the past 36 hours and newly arrived in Baghdad, is raw, painful, devastating. ... It is also proof that Basra, reportedly 'captured" and 'secured' by British troops last week, is indeed under the control of Saddam Hussein's forces. ...
"Hundreds of chanting demonstrators lined
Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on Thursday, and dozens lay down
in the street in a 'die-in' to protest the war. ... Anti-war groups also called for other civil disobedience in
the city to protest media and corporate 'profiteering from
the war.' ... Some protest signs were directed at the media. One
protester held a sign showing a picture of parrots and the