Archive for April 2003

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[eccr] Fwd: The Weekly Spin, Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Wed Apr 02 07:26:43 GMT 2003

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, April 2, 2003
>sponsored by PR WATCH (
>The Weekly Spin features selected news summaries with links to
>further information about current public relations campaigns.
>It is emailed free each Wednesday to subscribers.
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>1. Pentagon Embeds Public Affairs Officers With Journalists
>2. Propaganda's Diminishing Half-Life
>3. Coalition Of The Shills
>4. Edelman Defends France's Sodexho From Congressional Attack
>5. General GOP
>6. Clear Channel Gets PR Help Over Pro-War Rallies
>7. An Army of Propaganda
>8. The Spectre of Al-Jazeera
>9. Chickenhawks' War Comes Home to Roost
>10. Embedded Reporter Tactic "Sheer Genius"
>11. The Truth About Basra
>12. NYC Peace Activists Risk Arrest Protesting Media Bias
>13. Global Anger Grows Against US War on Iraq
>14. The "Information Operations" War in Iraq
>15. Rumsfeld's Happy Face Masks Deep Problems
>16. Hackers Shut Down al-Jazeera Websites
>   "They may not get as much attention as their media counterparts,
>   but dozens of Pentagon public affairs officers are 'embedded' right
>   alongside the reporters in Iraq," PR Week reports. "The Pentagon
>   also maintains the Coalition Press Information Center (CPIC) in
>   Kuwait, a base of operations for public affairs officers not
>   traveling with troops. A 24-hour operation designed to keep up with
>   news cycles in every time zone, ... one of the CPIC's most vital
>   roles is to discourage 'rogue' journalists from venturing into
>   dangerous areas by providing the information they might otherwise
>   attempt to get on their own." The Wall Street Journal praised the
>   Defense Department's PR Strategy. "The embedded reporters will
>   continue to be a brilliant strategy by the Pentagon -- one that
>   should echo in the rules of corporate communications," the
>   Journal's Clark S. Judge writes. "As the Pentagon has demonstrated
>   so aptly, the essential strategy for becoming the standard of truth
>   when no one believes you is to open your operations to the kind of
>   risk that no one would take if he were planning to lie. Spin is out
>   of the question. Good or bad, the story is there for the reporter
>   to see."
>SOURCE: PR Week, March 31, 2003; Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "In the good old days, the US used to tell a lie -- crass
>   propaganda -- and it would stick for a long time. Journalists would
>   have to scurry for months before they could expose the lies, but by
>   then it would be almost irrelevant," writes London-based economist
>   Paul de Rooij for "In the run up to the
>   US-Iraq war, it became increasingly evident that propaganda has a
>   diminished half-life. ... As soon as a propaganda ploy has been
>   exposed, the current media spinners will move to the next tall
>   story. They seem to count on either the poor memory of the
>   population, their general disinterest or their credulity. ... There
>   is only one antidote against propaganda, and that is a relevant
>   sense of history and a strong collective memory. When we remember
>   the lessons from the past, and when we remember what happened even
>   a few days ago, then the job of the propagandists and their
>   warmongering bosses, becomes much more difficult."
>SOURCE:, April 1, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Government officials from the U.S. and U.K. insist on labeling the
>   American and British forces in Iraq as "coalition forces" despite
>   the fact that the majority of "coalition of the willing" countries
>   are providing little to no support for the Iraq invasion. But as
>   Reuters reports, "It can pay to be a member of President Bush's
>   coalition against Iraq." Freelance journalist Constantine von
>   Hoffman has compiled a chart, showing the GDP, annual military
>   expenditures, number of troops being sent to Iraq by all the latest
>   coalition partners, and the amount promised to each in Bush's
>   supplemental wartime budget request.
>SOURCE: Reuters, March 26, 2003;, April 1, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "France's Sodexho Alliance is fending off Congressional bids to
>   strip it of its $880 million food service contract with the U.S.
>   Marines because of the French snub of President Bush's invasion of
>   Iraq," O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "Edelman is our corporate agency
>   of record, and we use it for crisis work," Bonnie Goldstein, a PR
>   staffer at Sodexho's North American headquarters in Gaithersburg,
>   Md., told O'Dwyer's. "Rep. Jack Kingman (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to
>   Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asking him to consider
>   transferring the Marines contract to a U.S.-based firm. That would
>   send a 'tangible signal to the French government that there are
>   economic consequences associated with their international
>   policies.' The letter was signed by 59 Congressmen," O'Dwyer's
>   writes.
>SOURCE: O'Dwyer's PR Daily, March 31, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "According to recent leaks from the Pentagon, Gen. Tommy Franks and
>   other uniformed war planners argued with Defense Secretary Donald
>   Rumsfeld over how many troops and how much armor to commit to the
>   war," writes Lucian K. Truscott IV. "The soldiers wanted more of
>   both," but "Rumsfeld was reportedly among the influential group on
>   the administration war team who predicted that the Iraqi army would
>   quickly fold after it had been shocked and awed. ... The question
>   is, why didn't the generals insist on the force structure they were
>   correct in thinking would be necessary? The fact that more than
>   two-thirds of senior military officers identify themselves as
>   conservative Republicans - and the true percentage is probably a
>   lot higher than that - might have something to do with the
>   military's lack of backbone. ... The lack of backbone in the top
>   ranks of Pentagon generals when dealing with their Republican
>   friends may cause unnecessary deaths on the battlefield, a high
>   price to pay for a military that is finally happy with the politics
>   of its civilian leaders, but must deal uneasily with their lack of
>   military expertise."
>SOURCE: St. Louis Today, March 31, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Clear Channel Communications ... finds itself fending off a new
>   set of accusations: that the company is using its considerable
>   market power to drum up support for the war in Iraq, while muzzling
>   musicians who oppose it. ... The critics ... cite an unusual series
>   of pro-military rallies drummed up by Glenn Beck, whose talk show
>   is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, a Clear Channel
>   subsidiary. ... Thirteen of those rallies were co-sponsored and
>   promoted by local Clear Channel stations, including one held March
>   15 in Atlanta that was sponsored by Clear Channel's WGST and
>   attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Further plans for rallies
>   include events in Tampa; Lubbock, Tex.; and Dothan, Ala. Clear
>   Channel, which hired Brainerd Communicators, a financial
>   communications and crisis-management firm, last week to help deal
>   with the controversy, did not make Mr. Beck available for an
>   interview."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 31, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "It's no coincidence that Americans, and others around the world,
>   are echoing the exact same phrases and news bites at the same times
>   with near-military precision. It's the result of a slickly
>   orchestrated public relations campaign on the part of the military
>   and the U.S. government that is borrowing the best practices of the
>   corporate PR world. ... The PR industry, as many may know, was
>   actually started by the military during World War I, when
>   persuasive techniques were developed to recruit soldiers. 'After
>   the [First World War] a lot of those [PR] people went to work for
>   the private sector and are seen as the grandfathers of PR,' says
>   Laura Miller, associate editor of PR Watch [and author of the
>   article War Is Sell ].... "They were very up front about the fact
>   that [in their opinion] in a democracy, public opinion needs to be
>   controlled by a small number of people who know what's best for the
>   public.' In the case of the war against Iraq, that means that there
>   should be no confusion or dissent about the aims and progress of
>   the war."
>SOURCE: AlterNet, March 31, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Throughout the world, people are witnessing scenes of horror from
>   Iraq on Al-Jazeera, the Arab cable news station. However,
>   Al-Jazeera barely penetrates the United States. The network's
>   newly-launched English-language web site remains down and may not
>   be available for several weeks due to hacker attacks. According to
>   Al-Jazeera correspondent Faisal Bodi, "few here doubt that the
>   provenance of the attack is the Pentagon." Nevertheless, the
>   station has become one of the most sought-after news resources in
>   the world. "I do not mean to brag - people are turning to us simply
>   because the western media coverage has been so poor," Bodi says.
>   "Of all the major global networks, al-Jazeera has been alone in
>   proceeding from the premise that this war should be viewed as an
>   illegal enterprise. It has broadcast the horror of the bombing
>   campaign, the blown-out brains, the blood-spattered pavements, the
>   screaming infants and the corpses. Its team of on-the-ground,
>   unembedded correspondents has provided a corrective to the official
>   line that the campaign is, barring occasional resistance, going to
>   plan."
>SOURCE: Guardian (UK), March 28, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   If you think you remember that we were promised a quick, easy war,
>   your memory is not faulty. Eric Alterman has gone to the trouble of
>   assembling some of those recent quotes in which Bush administration
>   officials and pundits predicted, not that war is hell, but that it
>   would be heaven. "Support for Saddam ... will collapse at the first
>   whiff of gunpowder," predicted Richard Perle. The war will be "a
>   cakewalk," said Ken Adelman. According to Donald Rumsfeld, "it will
>   not be long." And Dick Cheney said the Iraqi people "will welcome
>   as liberators the United States."
>SOURCE: MSNBC, March 28, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The current war has been called the best-covered war in history,
>   and certainly the visuals and reports from 'embedded' reporters
>   have been spectacular, bringing war into our living rooms like
>   never before," Katie Delahaye Paine writes in her PR firm's
>   publication The Measurement Standard. "[T]he embedded reporter
>   tactic is sheer genius. ... The sagacity of the tactic is that it
>   is based on the basic tenet of public relations: It's all about
>   relationships. The better the relationship any of us has with a
>   journalist, the better the chance of that journalist picking up and
>   reporting our messages. So now we have journalists making dozens --
>   if not hundreds -- of new friends among the armed forces. And, if
>   the bosses of their new-found buddies want to get a key message or
>   two across about how sensitive the U.S. is being to humanitarian
>   needs or how humanely they are treating Iraqis, what better way
>   than through these embedded journalists? As a result, most (if not
>   all) of the dozens of stories being filed contain key messages the
>   Department of Defense wants to communicate."
>SOURCE: The Measurement Standard, March 28, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Robert Fisk reports that "an Iraqi general, surrounded by hundreds
>   of his armed troops, stands in central Basra and announces that
>   Iraq's second city remains firmly in Iraqi hands. The unedited
>   al-Jazeera videotape, filmed over the past 36 hours and newly
>   arrived in Baghdad, is raw, painful, devastating. ... It is also
>   proof that Basra, reportedly 'captured" and 'secured' by British
>   troops last week, is indeed under the control of Saddam Hussein's
>   forces. ... The unedited reports therefore provide damaging proof
>   that Anglo-American spokesmen have not been telling the truth about
>   the battle for Basra."
>SOURCE: The Independent, March 28, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Hundreds of chanting demonstrators lined Manhattan's Fifth Avenue
>   on Thursday, and dozens lay down in the street in a 'die-in' to
>   protest the war. ... Anti-war groups also called for other civil
>   disobedience in the city to protest media and corporate
>   'profiteering from the war.' ... Some protest signs were directed
>   at the media. One protester held a sign showing a picture of
>   parrots and the words, 'Don't Parrot the Right-wing Propaganda.'
>   Another, 44-year-old teacher Lee Whiting, held up a sign that said,
>   'Embedded? or In Bed?' Embedded, she said, means 'journalists are
>   presenting almost exclusively the military view of this war.'
>   Police and security officers placed a web of barricades at the
>   adjacent Rockefeller Center, home of the GE Building, NBC and The
>   Associated Press, to prevent the protesters from staging their
>   'die-in" there."
>SOURCE: Associated Press, March 27, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   As pundits and the Pentagon try to quantify the number of
>   acceptable US casualties, world-wide opposition to the attack on
>   Iraq grows by the day. The New York Times notes that "the public
>   mood in many countries around the world seemed to become angrier
>   and more sarcastic than ever... . Another day of global protest is
>   being advertised on Web sites and posters for Sunday, April 6. If
>   there was a common image summoned up by the protests and angry
>   commentaries, it was of the United States as an imperial power
>   intoxicated by its military supremacy but receiving a lesson in the
>   price of arrogance by unexpected Iraqi resistance. ... 'The world's
>   only remaining superpower is beginning to suffer from the disease
>   with which every imperial power throughout history has been
>   afflicted: the overestimation and overtaxing of its own
>   capabilities,' Germany's Der Spiegel said. 'Could the Iraq war
>   herald its decline?' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 27, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Bush planners appear to have left television off the initial
>   [bombing] target list because they wanted to use it to administer
>   Iraq immediately after the war and to limit the damage to civilian
>   infrastructure. Reports from Iraq, however, suggest that the
>   American restraint was seen by many Iraqis as an indication of Mr.
>   Hussein's resilience, undermining the allied message that his days
>   were numbered. There are, in fact, two parallel battles underway.
>   One is the intense assault American forces are mounting to set
>   themselves up for a drive to Baghdad to overthrow the Saddam
>   Hussein regime. The other, and equally critical, is the struggle to
>   secure the support of Iraqi citizens. The military has a name for
>   its campaign to win over the Iraq population It is called. 'I.O'
>   for 'information operations.' The problem is that during the
>   initial days of the war Mr. Hussein's 'I.O.' has been beating the
>   allied 'I.O.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 26, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Journalist Joseph L. Galloway, the military affairs correspondent
>   for Knight Ridder, criticized the Bush administration's war
>   fighting plan today on NPR's Fresh Air program. Galloway, the
>   co-author of We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, was recently a
>   consultant to Colin Powell. Yesterday Galloway reported that "the
>   risks of the [Iraq] campaign are becoming increasingly apparent,
>   and ... there may be a mismatch between Secretary of Defense Donald
>   H. Rumsfeld's strategy and the force he has sent to carry it out.
>   ... Intelligence officials say Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz
>   and other Pentagon civilians ignored much of the advice of the CIA
>   and the Defense Intelligence Agency in favor of reports from the
>   Iraqi opposition and from Israeli sources that predicted an
>   immediate uprising against Hussein once the Americans attacked."
>   The Washington Post reports that "the war is likely to last months
>   ... senior defense officials said today." (Our Disinfopedia
>   analysis warned before the war started of the danger of the Bush
>   administration believing its own propaganda.)
>SOURCE: Knight Ridder, NPR, Washington Post, March 26, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The English-language and Arabic websites of Qatar-based
>   broadcaster al-Jazeera were forced down this morning after a spate
>   of suspected hacker attacks last night. Neither,
>   which gets the most hits of any Arabic website in the world, nor
>, which launched on Monday, were available
>   this morning after suspected attacks crashed both sites.
>   [C]ommunications manager Jihad Ali Ballout told
>   the company was doing everything possible to get the sites up and
>   running.. ... Asked where the attacks originated, Ali Ballout said:
>   "I wish I knew. There are rumors that the attacks originated in the
>   US but at this moment in time we cannot verify that. But it is
>   worrying and an indication perhaps [that] in certain quarters there
>   is a fear of freedom of expression and freedom of the press."
>SOURCE: The Guardian, March 26, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
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Carpentier Nico (Phd)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Free University Brussels
Studies on Media, Information & Telecommunication (SMIT)
Centre for Media Sociology (CeMeSO)
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Pleinlaan 2 - B-1050 Brussels - Belgium
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