Sunday, September 27, 2009

Winning a war by PR campaigns

"In addition, McChrystal lists as a goal making public relations efforts beyond Afghanistan more effective. There has already been a step-up in press material sent to U.S. journalists. On Friday, seven releases were sent to The Washington Post, including one with four photos...In Iraq, the U.S. military spent more than $500 million over six years developing a public relations campaign run mainly by American contractors. Starting with nearly $100 million for a U.S. contractor to run the newspaper, radio and television networks owned by one of Saddam Hussein's sons, the strategic communications program was expanded to include billboards, pamphlets, radio and TV spots, and programs to place articles in Iraqi newspapers and magazines. In June, The Post's Ernesto Londo?o reported from Baghdad that the multimillion-dollar campaign ultimately did not help burnish the U.S. military's image, marginalize extremists, promote democracy or foster reconciliation. By way of example, Londo?o quoted Ziyad al-Aajeely, director of Iraq's nonprofit Journalistic Freedom Observatory, as saying while he flipped through an issue of the U.S.-subsidized newspaper Baghdad Now: "The millions spent on this is wasted money. Nobody reads this."