In the aftermath of 9/11, Congress gave the U.S. Justice Department substantial new powers to wiretap and spy on suspected terrorists, but the Justice Department refuses to tell Congress what it is doing with those powers.
"After more than five decades of relying on advertising for its recruitment efforts, the Marine Corps has decided to let PR pros take a shot at finding them a few good men," PR Week reports in a front page story. Longtime Marine advertising agency J. Walter Thompson recruited sister company Hill & Knowlton to join in on a bid for the five-year, $200 million contract. Having won the account in July, the campaign details are still being worked out.
"U.S. Public Diplomacy chief Charlotte Beers' approach to generating goodwill and understanding for America and Americans in the Muslim and Arab world is remarkably -- even astonishingly--naive and ignorant," writes David Gaier in a guest commentary for O'Dwyer's PR Daily. Gaier is a former U.S. Marine, ex-Special Agent with the U.S.Department of State, and PR veteran, who has spent much time in the Middle East.
"The Bush administration's refusal to cooperate with even the most routine and basic congressional requests for information is infuriating members of Congress and violating congressional rights and responsibilities," reports Alexander Bolton in The Hill, a newspaper for Washington insiders. Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress are complaining about the secrecy, which extends beyond issues like national defense and foreign policy and includes areas such as environmental, educational and science issues.
The American Civil Liberties Union is denouncing the Bush administration's "surreal" decision to channel Operation TIPS calls to FOX-TV's "America's Most Wanted" program. "It's a completely inappropriate and frightening intermingling of government power and the private sector," said ACLU's Rachel King.
"On Nov. 22, 2000, the so-called 'Brooks Brothers Riot' of Republican activists helped stop a vote recount in Miami -- and showed how far George W. Bush's supporters were ready to go to put their man in the White House," writes Robert Parry, who cites newly-released documents which "show that at least a half dozen of the publicly identified rioters were paid by Bush's recount committee.
David Corn critiques Congressman Henry Hyde's notion that Hollywood and Madison Avenue can razzle-dazzle those pesky foreigners who don't like America. "This is ridiculous. Hollywood pushes escapist fiction, and advertising firms try to hornswoggle people into believing they can get laid if they purchase the right car, the right toothpaste, the right beer, or the right cigarette," Corn writes. "But the poohbahs of U.S.
The Government Printing Office, which is responsible for printing the multitude of documents produced by the federal government, may be abolished according to an order by the White House Office of Management and the Budget. The OMB describes the order as a cost-saving measure, but critics say it may cost more money than the present system. Worse, it threatens public access to information.
The Bush administration has decided to create a permanent, fully staffed "Office of Global Communications" to "coordinate the administration's foreign policy message and supervise America's image abroad, according to senior officials," writes Karen DeYoung. The office will allow the White House "to exert more control over what has become one of the hottest areas of government and private-sector initiatives since Sept. 11.
Guatemala remains of the most horrifying legacies of the work of Edward Bernays, the legendary "father of public relations." On behalf of the United Fruit company, Bernays orchestrated the propaganda behind a military coup that overthrew Guatemala's elected government, ushering in decades of tyranny under regimes whose brutality rivaled the Nazis as they condemned hundreds of thousands of people (mostly members of the country's impoverished Maya Indian