PR trade publication O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports: "The Arab Intellectual Foundation plans a $2 million media drive to counter what it feels are the 'negative images' of Arabs and Islam that are presented in the Western press in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks." Saudi Prince Khalid Al-Faisal is the president of AIF. Arab businessmen have been asked to contribute money to the campaign which will "promote the Arab perspective on the war on terror."
A roiling debate over the United States' ties with Saudi Arabia took an ugly turn when the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan ibn Abdul Aziz, publicly accused the "Zionist and Jewish lobby" of orchestrating a "media blitz" against the desert kingdom.
The Philippines has awarded a $800,000 contract to PR goliath Burson-Marsteller to restore investor confidence in the country reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. The PR firm will do media relations, spokesperson training and develop economic materials to "enhance the sovereign credit rating and strengthen perceptions of the international business community that the Philippines is an attractive location for foreign direct investment." The country, which has emerged as a key U.S. ally in its "war on terror," last week received rifles, mortars and military trucks from the U.S. Next month, the U.S.
Advertising Age asked a top Middle East ad man about the difficulties of selling the US to the Arabic and Muslim world. Roy Haddad, the Beirut-based CEO of WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, warns that the current political situation makes the US a hard sell. "The long-standing Israel issue is the biggest hindering factor. ... There's been a lot of reaction in the US, feeling that Arabs were pro-bin Laden. It's not so much a pro-bin Laden as an anti-American attitude, anti-Western.
A recent essay by Fouad Ajami in the New York Times Magazine described Al Jazeera, the 24-hour Arab satellite channel, as "irresponsible," "inflammatory," "anti-American" and "anti-Israel." Some people disagree with this assessment, including MSNBC correspondent Michael Moran
Previous Spin of the Day postings have discussed the Bush administration's backdoor ties to Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group. Now the Boston Herald has picked up the story, with a two-part series that reports, "A steady stream of billion-dollar oil and arms deals between American corporate leaders and the elite of Saudi Arabia may be hindering efforts by the West to defeat international Islamic terrorism." Terrorism suspects have been arrested in more than 40 countries since Sept.
As the endgame approaches in the war against Osama bin Laden, Pakistani professor Pervez Hoodbhoy has written a thoughtful essay, published in two installments, which ponders the next steps that must be taken. "If the world is to be spared what future historians may call the 'Century of Terror,' we will have to chart the perilous course between the Scylla of American imperial arrogance and the Charybdis of Islamic religious fanaticism," he writes.
According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), "it is certainly valid to investigate whether either the Palestinian Authority or Israel have done enough to pursue suspected terrorists or to stop violence under their control," but the New York Times has omitted crucial facts about this latest cycle of violence, even though the paper has reported these facts in the past." The recent suicide bombings by the Palestinian group Hamas were in retaliation for the November 23 assassination of the group's senior West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud.
"The remarkable military progress of the war in Afghanistan has bought the United States breathing room on the global public relations front," writes political science professor Peter Feaver. "But in the crucial theater of European public opinion, the war on terror is far from won. Indeed, if President Bush is serious about extending the conflict beyond Afghanistan, he will need all the PR help he can get to persuade our European allies to stay on the bandwagon." Feaver examines the differences between European and U.S.
According to O'Dwyer's PR, James Carville, former political advisor to Bill Clinton, and his partner Stanley Greenberg will be working to "spruce-up" the image of Israel in the U.S. Carville and Greenberg met with Israel foreign ministry officials, but are to be paid by a group of American Jews who believe Israel's PR "needs improvement," according to The Jerusalem Post. O'Dwyer's says it is unclear whether the Israeli government will contribute to the PR effort. Carville and Greenberg have worked for former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.