The United States faces an uphill battle in using the latest videotape of Osama bin Laden to influence public opinion in the Arab world, where Washington's support for Israel over the Palestinians dominates news coverage and the public tends to regard the fight to dismantle Al Qaeda as something of an American problem. Jamal Khashoggi, deputy managing editor of the Arab News daily in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, says he has no doubt that the tape is authentic.
O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports that "U.S. State Department public diplomacy head Charlotte Beers intends to incorporate the Osama bin Laden tape into her propaganda efforts, according to her spokesperson Richard Boucher. 'We may make it available to people around the world via our promotional materials, website or at embassies,' he said." O'Dwyer's also links to the video transcript.
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, several state Legislatures have considered or passed measures restricting access to government records or facilities. In Presstime, a public of the National Newspaper Association, Joe Adams writes, "State lawmakers are closing public records at an alarming pace, often without even a shrug from those with the most to lose -- ordinary citizens. ... In state after state, lawmakers use privacy concerns as a blanket license to shutter records long thought to be safe from exemption.
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.
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Hollywood studios, television networks, and unions have formed a 40-person committee to assist in the ongoing "war against terrorism." The committee, the outgrowth of White House advisor Karl Rove's discussions with the entertainment industry, is focusing on "distributing films to troops abroad, arranging United Service Organization shows, and creating PSAs honoring troops and boosting morale," reports PR Week. Among Hollywood's morale-boosting efforts, the star-studded cast of first-run film "Ocean's Eleven" will attend a screening on a US military base in Turkey.
Peter Himler, who handles media relations for PR giant Burson-Marsteller, congratulated NY-based PR practitioners for acting "responsibly and sensitively in the face of these unprecedented and extraordinary events." O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes, "Himler said journalists turned to PR pros to get answers to questions, such as: Where do victims and their families go to seek assistance? Will insurance companies cover one's losses? How does one find out if his or her flight was canceled? Where can one seek professional grief counseling? What do I tell my kids?
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.
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.