A Public / Private Spin Partnership

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. public diplomacy chief Karen Hughes and the Public Relations Coalition held a "Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy" on January 9 and 10. PR executive Richard Edelman suggested de-politicizing the U.S. image. "Take it away from the part of the media that covers politics," he counseled. "Kick it off the front page and move it to the business page or other parts of the newspaper." As an example, Edelman pointed to Israel's focus on its technological advances. He also suggested engaging foreign bloggers. Marketing executive Mary Lou Quinlan said, "It's time to get back to the basic values that made our brand great, things like respect for freedom and individual rights. ... The next president needs to be a better listener." PR Week reports that the meeting involved "about 150 corporate communications executives," as well as Hughes aide Dina Powell. An account of the meeting will be published in late January, including "10 'action steps' that companies can take to support U.S. government public relations efforts."