Charlotte Beers, the former advertising executive in charge of improving America's image in the Muslim world, recently spent three days in Cairo talking about mending fences.
When it comes to the Enron scandal, "White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has managed the spin duties expertly," writes William Saletan on Slate. By passing the buck, playing dumb, or dodging the issue, Fleischer uses classic spin tactics to evade the Enron-related questions of the White House press corps.
President Bush is stumping today in the southern U.S. accusing some of wanting to "raise taxes in the midst of a recession." New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says this is like Bush's claim that Enron's chairman Kenneth Lay supported his opponent in the Texas governor's race and "it sure feels like a lie. ... And the chest-thumping you hear is the sound of an administration trying to prevent any rational discussion of the fiscal mess its tax plan has created."
The Project on Government Oversight has issued a report on reprisals and retaliation against whistleblowers at the U.S. Department of Energy. "Retaliation at DOE does not necessarily entail attempting to fire federal employees," it states. "In the majority of cases in the security area, DOE supervisors attempt to revoke the whistleblower's clearance on trumped-up charges. Then they remove them from any responsibility for oversight of security. On the other hand, contractors often lose their contracts, or their jobs, for blowing the whistle. ...
The Bush administration has announced that an eight-year-old, $2 billion federal program to create high-mileage gas vehicles was being scrapped and a new program -- focusing on hydrogen fuel-cells -- was being created. According to Jack Doyle, author of Taken for A Ride: Detroit's Big Three and the Politics of Pollution, this new fuel-efficiency initiative is more PR than progress.
Major media have been remarkably quiet about the Carlyle Group, "one of the most powerful, well-connected, and secretive companies in the world," which brought together high-powered former politicians including George Bush seniors with Saudi financial moguls and even members of the Bin Laden family. "The Bush administration isn't afraid to mix business and politics, and no other firm embodies that penchant better than the Carlyle Group," reports Red Herring magazine. "Walking that fine line is what Carlyle does best.
"In any great brand, the leverageable asset is the emotional underpinning of the brand," says Charlotte Beers, who heads the U.S. government's efforts to improve America's image in the world. According to Washington Post staff writer Peter Carlson, Beers specializes in "branding" -- "a quasi-alchemical process that promises to identify a particular company's product with desirable attributes." According to U.S.
Until recently, the U.S. government rarely included any emotional content in its press materials, knowing that public relations that pander to emotions are often dismissed as propaganda. But the State Department's newest venture, a Web-based pictorial documenting life in New York City three months after the attacks, is unabashedly sentimental.
Previous Spin of the Day postings have discussed the Bush administration's backdoor ties to Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group. Now the Boston Herald has picked up the story, with a two-part series that reports, "A steady stream of billion-dollar oil and arms deals between American corporate leaders and the elite of Saudi Arabia may be hindering efforts by the West to defeat international Islamic terrorism." Terrorism suspects have been arrested in more than 40 countries since Sept.
As the endgame approaches in the war against Osama bin Laden, Pakistani professor Pervez Hoodbhoy has written a thoughtful essay, published in two installments, which ponders the next steps that must be taken. "If the world is to be spared what future historians may call the 'Century of Terror,' we will have to chart the perilous course between the Scylla of American imperial arrogance and the Charybdis of Islamic religious fanaticism," he writes.