Archive for April 2003

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[eccr] Fwd: The Weekly Spin, Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Wed Apr 16 07:24:16 GMT 2003

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, April 16, 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. Live from the Middle East
>2. Saddam TV Off, Pentagon TV On, In Iraq
>3. Tutwiler, New Top Iraq Flack, May Take Beers'  Old Job
>4. Who Needs Movies?  We've Got the FOX War Channel.
>5. Americans Watching Their War on Cable, Not Networks
>6. Big Media Covers Bush Administration While Lobbying It
>7. TV Wraps Itself in the Flag and Sells the War
>8. Sony, Others, Want to Market "Shock and Awe"
>9. The Fear Factor
>10. Lack Of Dead Bodies On TV "PR Coup"
>11. Historic Moment or Staged Publicity Shot?
>12. US Flag Banned in Iraq
>13. The Rest of the World
>14. Pentagon PR Star Torie Clarke Embeds the Press
>15. SUV Owners Group a Front for Industry
>16. Corporations Ask Shareholders To Support Bush Tax Cut
>   Curious to know how the news is reported in Arab countries? Now you
>   can see for yourself. Working with WorldlinkTV, the Internet
>   Archive is archiving and providing non-commercial access to
>   "Mosaic," a TV program that iMosaic selects, translates, and
>   repackages news programs from the Middle East for a western
>   audience.
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Reuters notes that in Iraq the Pentagon propaganda channel called
>   "Nahwa Al-Hurrieh or 'Toward Freedom,' was officially launched on
>   Thursday. A specially modified plane called 'Commando Solo' is
>   flying over Iraq broadcasting both television and radio for several
>   hours a day. ... The programs seen in Baghdad on Tuesday had been
>   produced in London." The World Socialist Web Site comments that
>   "having served unofficially as a propaganda arm of the White House
>   and Pentagon before and during the war on Iraq, the major US media
>   networks, with the exception of CNN, have agreed to make their
>   function official. In the name of providing Iraq's people with a
>   taste of a free press, ABC, CBS, Fox and the Public Broadcasting
>   Service (PBS) have decided to provide content for a
>   Pentagon-controlled television service in Iraq. "
>SOURCE: Reuters, April 15, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Margaret Tutwiler, the United States ambassador to Morocco, left
>   Rabat for Baghdad today to assume a temporary position overseeing
>   all public relations and information operations in postwar Iraq.
>   Ms. Tutwiler, who was the State Department spokeswoman during the
>   Persian Gulf war in 1991, ... also said she was still in
>   discussions with Bush administration officials about a separate
>   offer to return to Washington as the under secretary of state for
>   public diplomacy and public affairs. If Ms. Tutwiler took the State
>   Department job, she would be charged with improving the image of
>   the United States abroad, particularly in Muslim countries ... .
>   Charlotte Beers, 67, announced last month that she was resigning
>   from the job for health reasons."
>SOURCE: New York Times, April 15, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Nearly every military-related film to reach theaters this year has
>   been a box-office disappointment, leaving some in Hollywood to
>   question how much the 24-hour news coverage of the Iraq invasion
>   has dimmed the public appetite for images of combat," and "some
>   critics suggest that moviegoers are staying away because they have
>   plenty of real-time war action already on cable and network news
>   programs. 'When television came on with 24-hour news channels, it
>   changed what we needed,' said Jeanine Basinger, chairman of film
>   studies at Wesleyan University and author of The World War II
>   Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre. 'During World War II you needed
>   movies to help people see and understand events they were hearing
>   about.' Now, she said, 'we are kind of inured; we have seen a lot
>   of blood and combat.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, April 14, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "With the most televised war in history winding down, executives at
>   TV news organizations are noticing one startling detail in how
>   Americans are watching the coverage: viewers are increasingly
>   tuning out the broadcast networks' evening newscasts. ... The
>   overall decline in the evening news programs' ratings, coming at
>   the same time as the three cable news networks achieved gains of
>   more than 300 percent, could be a watershed moment in how Americans
>   get their news on television. ... Andrew Heyward, the president of
>   CBS News, said the Bush administration's new policy of placing
>   reporters with the military units engaged in the fighting, was the
>   most significant factor driving the decline. It introduced a new
>   element of live, often visceral, coverage that had a profound
>   impact on viewers, he said."
>SOURCE: New York Times, April 14, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   While the giant US media networks are covering the US's invasion of
>   Iraq, they are also heavily lobbying to get rid of restriction on
>   the number of TV and radio stations they can own in one market.The
>   Guardian reports media critics are alarmed by what they see as a
>   "serious conflict of interest" concerning how the broadcast
>   industry covers the Bush administration. "It is likely that
>   decisions about how to cover the war on Iraq - especially on
>   television - may be tempered by a concern not alienate the White
>   House," said Jeffrey Chester, Center for Digital Democracy
>   executive director, in a recent article. "These media giants stand
>   to make untold billions if the FCC safeguards are eliminated or
>   weakened." The Guardian writes, "Mr Chester accused the US media of
>   adopting a 'narrow-minded commercial mindset' , reflected by their
>   failure to 'effectively analyse and criticise the Iraq war policy'
>   ahead of an impending ruling by the FCC on the media ownership
>   regime."
>SOURCE: Guardian (UK), April 14, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Columnist Frank Rich writes, "There's almost nothing in the war, it
>   seems, that cannot be exploited as a network promo. ... When
>   Victoria Clarke at the Pentagon says Saddam is responsible for
>   'decades and decades and decades of torture and oppression the
>   likes of which I think the world has not ever seen before,' no one
>   on Fox or MSNBC is going to gainsay her by bringing up Hitler and
>   Stalin. To so much as suggest that the world may have seen thugs
>   even more evil than Saddam is to engage in moral relativism --
>   which, in the prevailing Foxspeak of the moment, is itself
>   tantamount to treason. In retrospect we can see that patriotism as
>   a TV news marketing ploy was inevitable ... . ...the prewar joke,
>   that this war would be the ultimate reality show, has come true."
>SOURCE: New York Times, April 13, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "A day after U.S. allied forces marched into Iraq, Sony applied for
>   a trademark on the war's catchphrase, 'shock and awe,' for use as a
>   video game title, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and
>   Trademark Office. It was unclear if Sony planned to make use of the
>   name. The application, dated March 21, was first discovered by
>   British publication Media Guardian. The U.S. Patent and Trademark
>   office has more than a dozen applications for uses of the phrase,
>   including for fireworks, lingerie, baby toys, shampoo and
>   consulting services. Military strategist Harlan Ullman coined
>   'shock and awe' in 1996 to describe pressuring the enemy to give up
>   with little fighting."
>SOURCE: St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 12, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The producer of a CBS mini-series has been fired after comparing
>   the climate of fear in the United States to the political
>   environment that enabled Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Ed Gernon,
>   the producer of "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" told TV Guide that the
>   story "basically boils down to an entire nation gripped by fear,
>   who ultimately chose to give up their civil rights and plunged the
>   whole world into war. I can't think of a better time to examine
>   this history than now." Associates say the remarks were exaggerated
>   by a New York Post item that cited Gernon's comment as a sign of
>   Hollywood's anti-Americanism and paraphrased his remarks as saying
>   that Bush should be looked at "through the prism of Germany's
>   psychopath." (They said it, he didn't.)
>SOURCE: Washington Post, April 11, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "As the war seemingly comes to an end with US troops in the centre
>   of Baghdad, the propaganda war from both sides has become even more
>   desperate," writes Charles Whelan, a former New Labour flack, for
>   PR Week's UK edition. "The Iraqi minister for information has had a
>   job to do made more difficult by the hour. The poor man was forced
>   into making statements at his daily press briefing about how the
>   brave Iraqi troops had expelled the Americans from Saddam Hussein
>   Airport. On our split TV screens, we could simultaneously see US
>   troops firmly in charge of the airport, and yet he defiantly
>   claimed: 'Baghdad is safe, the infidels are committing suicide'.
>   ... The big similarity in the war coverage over the pond is the
>   lack of dead bodies. We are told of thousands of dead Iraqi
>   soldiers but are never allowed to see them. It's as if there is a
>   conspiracy between the TV companies and the governments to hide the
>   real horror of war. The lack of dead bodies on TV has been the
>   biggest PR coup of the war."
>SOURCE: PR Week (UK), April 11, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "One of the 'most memorable images of the war' is created when U.S.
>   troops pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square. ...
>   The entire event is being hailed as an equivalent of the Berlin
>   Wall falling... but even a quick glance of the long-shot photo
>   shows something more akin to a carefully constructed media event
>   tailored for the television cameras." Meanwhile, BBC journalist
>   Paul Wood reports that the US flag that was placed over the face of
>   Saddam's statue "was the flag that was flying over the Pentagon on
>   September 11. For a lot of the American marines, they think this
>   war is all about defeating terrorism, they will tell you that over
>   and over again. There is also a connection in the minds of the
>   American public between the regime of Saddam and what happened on
>   September 11, and apparently the flag that was draped over this
>   face was flying over the Pentagon when the plane crashed into it."
>   O'Dwyer's PR Daily called the photo-op a " PR bonanza" for the
>   Pentagon.
>SOURCE: Information Clearing House website, April 10, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Today, the Army, seeking to demonstrate that its troops in Iraq
>   are 'liberators' and not 'conquerors' barred any display of the
>   American flag on vehicles, buildings, statues, and command posts.
>   The order, which effectively halts the display of the flag
>   virtually anywhere in Iraq, except the United States Embassy, said
>   that flying the flag on buildings in Iraq would only reenforce the
>   anti-American message that the military was 'here to oppress the
>   Iraqis.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, April 10, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Round-the-clock coverage of the war in Iraq has eclipsed a host of
>   bad-news stories from the rest of the world, including a massacre
>   in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Israeli killings and
>   detentions in the West Bank, and a crackdown on dissidents in Cuba.
>   According to Curt Goering of Amnesty International USA, the virtual
>   exclusion of most other international news has provide an
>   opportunity for repressive authorities to settle old scores.
>   "That's been a fear that we had even before the war started,"
>   Goering said. "In Cuba that's certainly happening."
>SOURCE: Reuters, April 9, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Bill Berkowitz writes that "a relatively quick war against an
>   overwhelmed and outmatched foe -- sanitized of civilian casualties
>   -- has been a tonic for a Pentagon hungry for good publicity. ...
>   Embedding reporters is the brainchild of Victoria 'Torie' Clarke,
>   the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Clarke
>   brings considerable PR experience to the task of winning the spin
>   war. She recently worked with Hill and Knowlton, the public
>   relations firm heavily involved in Gulf War I, and prior to that
>   she was president of Bozell Eskew Advertising, an issue advocacy
>   and corporate communications company. ... At the Pentagon, Clarke,
>   the first woman to hold her position, 'is doing a great job,'
>   according to Kevin McCauley, the editor of O'Dwyer's PR Daily.
>   'She's in there with generals in their fifties and sixties, she has
>   everyone on message and the fact that she's a woman tends to put a
>   softer spin on things.' "
>SOURCE:  April 9, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>    "The Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America, a grassroots [read:
>   industry front] group started in 1999, is in the midst of a major
>   membership push and revamping of its website as it seeks to become
>   a source of pro-SUV information that the media can turn to," PR
>   Week writes. Stratacomm, a PR firm that counts Detroit's big three
>   auto makers as well as transportation and alcohol industry trade
>   groups and associations as clients, has so far contacted about 120
>   journalists about the organization. PR Week writes: "Stratacomm
>   plans to relaunch the association's website this month, and seeks
>   to expand membership to 50,000 by the end of this year. The group,
>   founded by SUV owner Bill Brouse, now has only a few hundred
>   members." The group's board of directors includes Stratacomm's
>   Jason Vines, who services as the board president, and
>   representatives from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association
>   and the Marine Retailers Association of America.
>SOURCE: PR Week, April 7, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "In an unusual mix of investor relations and grassroots political
>   outreach, several corporate giants have sent letters to
>   shareholders asking them to contact members of Congress to support
>   President Bush's proposed dividend tax cut," PR Week writes.
>   "[S]everal large dividend-paying companies, including GM,
>   Citigroup, Southern Company, ChevronTexaco, and Verizon, have sent
>   such letters to shareholders. 'We think this proposal makes good
>   economic sense, and is good for our stockholders and General
>   Motors,' read a recent letter to GM shareholders from president and
>   CEO Rick Wagoner. 'We've shared our enthusiasm for it with members
>   of Congress, and we urge you to do the same promptly.'"
>SOURCE: PR Week, April 7, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>The Weekly Spin is compiled by staff and volunteers at PR Watch.
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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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