Play It Again, Sam

PR Week writer Douglas Quenqua asks, "Should the administration draw on the propaganda models of past conflicts to communicate the current war against terrorism?" He recounts the history of past efforts by the U.S. government to mold public opinion, beginning with the Creel Committee during World War I. "In the first few months of our current conflict, we have seen countless entities -- government and otherwise -- launch individual attempts at diplomacy," Quenqua writes. "The Pentagon has hired its own PR firm. Navy Planes are dropping leaflets on Afghanistan. The White House and British Prime Minister set up Coalition Information Centers ... Presidential advisor Karl Rove flew to Beverly Hills to discuss the war effort with Hollywood execs. ... Yet there is almost universal agreement that our message isn't getting across. What exactly are all these experts doing?"