"In 1922, social critic Walter Lippmann wrote, 'Decisions in modern states tend to be made by the interaction, not of Congress and the executive, but of public opinion and the executive.' Never has this been truer than in the war on terrorism," writes Alternet senior editor Tamara Straus. "The Bush administration has justified its bombing campaign against Afghanistan not with a Congressional declaration of war, but with polls indicating that close to 90 percent of Americans want military action.
In his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, Attorney General John Ashcroft argued that critics of the Bush administration's domestic anti-terrorism measures "only aid terrorists." The next day, Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker told journalists that they had mischaracterized Ashcroft's statements and, in doing so, "became a part of the exact problem he was describing." Such statements by a leading public official and a prominent spokesperson for the administration constitute an attempt to shut down rational debate over the administration's policies by as
John D. Graham founded the industry-funded Harvard Center for Risk Analysis that last week issued a whitewash report on mad cow risks in the US. Now Graham has a new government post at the Office of Management and Budget where he is leading the Bush administration's assault on environmental, health and safety regulations. The secret plotting between business lobbyists and Graham has even angered a lobbyist who leaked information to the Washington Post. The documents "provide another glimpse of behind-the-scenes strategy-setting by business lobbyists" such as the U.S.
On September 28, The Wall Street Journal published a story titled "Bin Laden Family Could Profit From a Jump In Defense Spending Due to Ties to U.S. Bank." The story touched on the relationship between President Bush and family members of Osama Bin Laden through the Bin Ladens' investments in the Carlyle Group, which employs George Bush Sr. and other prominent Republicans.
In the aftermath of September 11, the United States will have to abandon its "go-it-alone" Fortress America policies, according to PR executive Robert Dilenschneider.
President Bush has displayed a phenomenal memory: he has now learnt by rote entire sentences and phrases which he repeats endlessly. But the great wonder is that every word spoken by him about the war or Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda is greeted by analysts as adding something significant to the course of events. The more cliched the president sounds, the greater the zeal of commentators to dissect his words and hold intensive discussions about the president's thoughts.
When Pakistan ditched its ally, the Taliban, in September, and sided with the U.S., Islamabad and Washington fully expected to implant a pro-American regime in Kabul and open the way for the Pakistani-American pipeline. But, while the Bush administration was busy tearing apart Afghanistan to find Bin Laden, it failed to notice that the Russians were taking over half the country.The Russians achieved this victory through their proxy--the Northern Alliance. Moscow, which has sustained the alliance since 1990, rearmed it after Sept.
PR Week profiles the career of Charlotte Beers, once nicknamed "the most powerful woman in advertising," now overseeing U.S. efforts to improve its image overseas. Beers made her name selling Uncle Ben's rice products before going to work for ad agencies including J. Walter Thompson, Tatham-Lair & Kudner and Ogilvy & Mather.
Most of the new PR plan was ready to go. As the new moon ushered in the month of Ramadan last week, U.S. officials prepared "Mosques of America" posters, showing glossy images of domes and minarets, for distribution across the Arab world. President Bush and ambassadors in the Middle East and Asia would welcome Muslims into their homes to mark iftar, or the breaking of the fast. Muslim Americans were set to mingle with foreign Islamic journalists from the Washington area, no doubt to extol the virtues of the Bill of Rights.
PR Week reports that U.S. undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy Charlotte Beers has unveiled her strategy for "telling America's story to overseas audiences, particularly in Muslim countries." Contrary to earlier reports, the campaign does not emphasize advertising.