War / Peace

Bush's Budget Is Good For PR

The release of President Bush's defense- and "homeland security"-heavy budget will generate plenty of work for PR agencies according to PR Week reporter Douglas Quenqua. "The trick in 2002, say public affairs and budget experts, will be to redefine your pet issue or product as a matter of homeland security," Quenqua writes.


The War Against Propaganda

"Sadly, in the face of the grand spin machine, the nine American lives that were lost this week will just get caught up in the patriotic, hero-propping fervor that has seized the country ever since the World Trade Center bombings," writes Mark Brown. "Anyone who dies in the line of duty, especially servicemen and law enforcement officers, are instantly heroes. I don't think there is anything wrong with fallen soldiers receiving that treatment, for the record. But the greater tragedy here is when nobody asks the question: 'Why are those men there dying in the first place?' "


The Rendon Group Got Almost $100M From CIA

The Rendon Group received close to $100-million dollars from the CIA for work it did in Iraq in the five years following the Gulf War according to reporter Seymour Hersh in a New Yorker article. Between 1991-96, The Rendon Group did "media relations" work for the Iraqi National Congress, a coalition opposition group supported at the time by the CIA.


Preparing for Perpetual War

The Bush administration may be trying to "prepare us for a war without end," writes Ruth Rosen. "The political impetus for creating a state of perpetual war can't be ignored. George W. Bush has never forgotten his father's precipitous fall after the Persian Gulf War. Despite his currently high approval ratings, Bush also knows that a majority of Americans still favor the Democrats' domestic policies."


The Great Deception

The "war on terrorism," writes historian Howard Zinn, has opened up the prospect of "a war without end." President Bush has already said that the war may not be finished during his administration. "He will pass on the war to the next president, and perhaps the next and the next," Zinn writes. "How useful to have an enemy who is so elusive, whose defeat will require an endless war. Because so long as the nation is in a state of war, it is possible to control the population by saying: we are at war, and this is no time for division, we must sacrifice our freedoms.


The Rendon Group -- "The Weird Turn Pro"

John Rendon of the Rendon Group likes to quote gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson's remark: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Jeff Stein thinks this is probably an apt characterization of Rendon's current PR work for the Pentagon. In a profile of Rendon's past work for clients such as the Kuwaiti Royal Family, the embattled Colombian Army and the CIA, Stein paints a picture of corruption and ineptitude.


Bush & Rumsfeld Scrambling to Manage OSI Backlash

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and President Bush have backed away from the Pentagon's new propaganda arm, the Office of Strategic Influence. The administration is scrambling to deal with public backlash against the idea of a Pentagon propaganda office that would, among other actions, disseminate false and misleading information to US allies.


Coyote Rummy

The U.S. has imposed more restrictions on reporters in Afghanistan than in any previous U.S. war, but Hollywood has carte blanche to make feel-good "reality TV" shows about the adventure. Maureen Dowd notes that that the Pentagon is teaming with Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of "Top Gun," "Black Hawk Down," "Pearl Harbor" and "Coyote Ugly," along with Bertram van Munster of "Cops," to make a TV docudrama about the war on terrorism. "I'm outraged about the Hollywoodization of the military," says Dan Rather.


Pentagon & Disney/ABC Turn War Into Gung Ho TV Entertainment

"The Pentagon is giving two Hollywood producers access to troops in Afghanistan and around the world to promote its war effort through television's genre of the moment, the reality series. The result is expected to be a 13-part series shown in prime time by ABC entertainment division this year. The producers - Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the movies "Black Hawk Down' and 'Pearl Harbor,' and Bertram van Munster, whose credits include the reality series ... 'Cops' - intend to tell the 'compelling personal stories of the U.S.


Pentagon Propaganda Via "Office of Strategic Influence"

"The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries, military officials said. ... (The US military) recently created the Office of Strategic Influence, which is proposing to broaden that mission into allied nations in the Middle East, Asia and even Western Europe. ...



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