"Though many Arabs are receptive to America's propaganda theme of 'freedom and hope,' they are turned off by the message because of the strong U.S. support of Israel, said Rep. Christopher Shays [R-Conn] during his all-day Capitol Hill probe into this country's public diplomacy efforts," reports O'Dwyer's PR. Pollster John Zogby told the meeting "more than 90 percent of those polled in [Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and U.A.E] gave an 'unfavorable' rating for U.S. policy toward the Arab nations and toward the Palestinians."
"Qorvis Communications is helping Saudi Arabia handle fallout from charges that American children born of mixed U.S./Saudi parents are being kidnapped to the Kingdom," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. Congressman Dan Burton, who recently held hearings on the issue, says there are "hundreds of such cases," and that the U.S. State Department hasn't done anything to pressure Saudi Arabia to return the American children held there against their will. U.S.
"Congressman Christopher Shays wants to know how U.S. propaganda efforts are being received on the 'Arab Street.'" O'Dwyer's PR reports. "The Connecticut Republican plans hearings Oct. 8 to explore to what extent the State Dept.'s public diplomacy 'understands Arab and Muslim social and political thought.'" Harold Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the State Dept.'s Chris Ross, and Hafez Al-Mirazi, Al-Jazeera's Washington, D.C., bureau chief are scheduled to appear before the National Security, Veteran Affairs and International Affairs subcommittee.
The government of Thailand has hired the lobby firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand to protect its rice crop from U.S. biotechnology researchers. Advocates of biotech foods claim that they will solve world hunger, but farmers in Thailand are afraid that it will do the opposite. Genetically modified Thai jasmine rice threatens to ruin them financially by enabling U.S. rice growers to steal the market for one of the country's primary exports.
"The Lebanese government is prosecuting the news director of a major television station," reports MSNBC, "setting the stage for a broader crackdown on press freedoms in a country once admired as the only bastion of free press remaining in the Arab world. ... Rumors are the true currency of political discussion on the streets and in the cafes of the Arab world, where media outlets are either owned by the government or privately owned by political leaders and under the constant threat of sanction and closure."
"National PR is organizing the debut tomorrow of the Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions, a group composed of Canada's trade associations largely opposed to the country's plan to adopt the Kyoto global warming treaty. ... [R]epresentatives from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives will outline the Coalition's goals during a press conference tomorrow in Ottawa. ...
Angola's national oil company has hired the Washington D.C. lobby firm Patton Boggs to improve ties with the U.S. government. "Corruption within Angola's $6 billion energy sector is a key irritant between the two countries," O'Dwyer's PR reports. "The U.S. estimates government officials and their cronies skim about $1 billion from Angola's yearly energy revenues." The one-year contract is worth $2.2 millon and will be led by the well connected Tommy Boggs. Last spring, a cease-fire ended the country's 27-year civil war.
"As veteran ad executive Charlotte Beers finishes her first year as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs there are mixed reviews over whether she has accomplished her goal of improving the nation's image beyond its borders," writes Advertising Age. "Even supporters [of Beers] agree that the nation's image has suffered, but they suggest it is unfair to blame Ms. Beers, placing the blame instead on Bush administration policies on Israel and Iraq. Ms.
Madison Avenue-style advertising aimed at Middle Eastern audiences isn't likely to work for the U.S. government, says Harold C. Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "There's more to America than Calvin Klein jeans--and that's the point," said Harold C. Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "We are thought of as superficial, so we need to avoid anything that smacks of the superficial."