Speakers at a recent symposium of the Public Relations Society of America said that "U.S. support for Israelis over Palestinians, President Bush's 'crusade' against the Taliban and the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia contribute to the rising anti-American sentiment in the Middle East," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. "According to Denise Gray-Felder, VP of communications for the Rockefeller Foundation, 'Americans persist in operating like a nation of ignorants.' She has noticed in her international travels that foreigners are far better educated on world affairs than U.S.
The US government is using The Rendon Group, advertising whiz Charlotte Beers and others to develop PR and ad campaigns to sway Muslim opinion toward the US. The first ads are being "greeted with skepticism," according to the New York Times. "Rawia Ismail, ...her head covered with an Islamic head scarf, appears in a US government video that will have its first public showing this week on national television here in [Indonesia]... 'I didn't see any prejudice anywhere in my neighborhood after Sept.
"Marketing a war is serious business. And no product requires better brand names than one that squanders vast quantities of resources while intentionally killing large numbers of people," Media Beat columnist Norman Solomon writes. From 1989's Operation Just Cause to 1991's Operation Desert Storm to today's Enduring Freedom, Solomon suggests that naming military operations is nothing more than a form of "media cross-promotion" meant to sanitize war.
"As the White House searches for every possible excuse to go to war with Iraq," writes James Bamford, "pressure has been building on the intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates to fit a political agenda.
As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham (D-FL) sees classified government information that isn't released to the public. Based on what he's seen, he told CBS News, the Bush Administration appears to be selectively disclosing classified information based on politics rather than the requirements of national security. "There's been a pattern in which information is provided on a classified basis, and then what is declassified are those sections of the report that are most advantageous to the administration," Graham said.
"As Bush leads the nation toward a confrontation with Iraq and his party into battle in midterm elections, his rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy in recent weeks," Washington Post staff writer Dana Milbank wrote. "Statements on subjects ranging from the economy to Iraq suggest that a president who won election underscoring Al Gore's knack for distortions and exaggerations has been guilty of a few himself." Milbank quotes Brookings Institution scholar Stephen Hess suggesting that some of Bush's "overstatements" may be intentional.
"The [Sunday political] talk shows may bore many Americans, but they are crucial vehicles for the White House in setting the news agenda for the week," New York Times reporter John Tierney writes. "For the networks, the programs not only keep the news machine going on a slow day but also generate handsome profits because of their low costs -- and the fact that the big-name guests do not have to be paid.
"Look what John Ashcroft is doing to our Constitution," says a new American Civil Liberties Union ad. "He's seized powers for the Bush administration no president should ever have." The 30-second TV spot will air in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington D.C., and will be shown on the Sunday morning talk shows on ABC, CBS and NBC in selected cities. "The commercial kicks off a six-month, $1 million ad campaign that is part of a broader $3.5 million effort the ACLU has planned over the next 18 months," Advertising Age reports.
"Wedged between a rack of 99-cent Cheetos and a display of pork rinds stood a life-sized cardboard cutout of a buxom blond in a red miniskirt," reports Ian Urbina. "Resting on her inner thigh was a frosty bottle of Miller Genuine Draft. 'That's essentially what we do,' an army major remarked, pointing to the stiletto-heeled eye-catcher. 'But we don't sell beer.' ... The scene was a recruitment barbecue conducted by the US Army's 11th Psychological Operations Battalion ("Psy-ops," for short). ...