Flacking for the Saudis

Saudi Arabia is paying $100,000 to Patton Boggs, an affiliate of Qorvis Communications, to lobby on its behalf in the U.S. Congress. According to Kevin McCauley, editor of O'Dwyer's PR Daily, the Saudis have been getting "PR fit for a King (or at least a Prince)" lately, notwithstanding their complaints that they are victims of a "savage media campaign" in the West. The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal recently queued up for an interview with Prince Abdullah, producing stories that "dutifully carried the Prince's line." The Kingdom's PR firms, Qorvis Communications and Burson-Marsteller, are declining to take credit for the friendly coverage, which comes in the face of the fact that Osama bin Laden and most of his terror network hails from Saudi Arabia.