Paul Phillips (extempore) wrote,

it's a PR problem so it requires a PR solution

My free time is such that when threads like yesterday's break out, I have to bail out at some point. I wasn't too impressed with what I was getting across in that thread anyway, so it'd be easier to revisit it someday than to tie off all the threads.

Official: U.S. enemies 'eating our lunch' online:
Glassman's comments Wednesday echoed a November speech by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in which he said the United States needs more speed, agility and cultural relevance in its communications.

"Public relations was invented in the United States, yet we are miserable at communicating to the rest of the world what we are about as a society and a culture, about freedom and democracy, about our policies and our goals," Gates said.
One of the surest ways to spot a company in a death spiral is if you see it treating all its problems as PR problems.

"Our software crashes every five minutes."
"We need to help our customers better understand why that's ultimately to their benefit."
"We lost sixty million dollars last quarter."
"It's important to help wall street view those results in the proper context."
"The entire programming staff just quit."
"Issue a press release highlighting our commitment to employee mobility."
"Wouldn't it be smarter to fix the software, focus on making a profit, and find out why the programmers quit?"
"Hey! Do I tell you how to do your job?"

Other countries aren't perceiving us the way they're supposed to, and it's because we're doing a poor job of communicating that we're all about freedom and democracy.
Glassman said the United States must overturn a misconception in the Muslim world that it is a military threat, that it wants to weaken and divide the Muslim world and spread Christianity.
Wait a second, Muslims have gotten the idea that we're a military threat!? Who is in charge of PR around here? Given all those billions we've spent invading and occupying iraq, how did we forget to budget for a few press releases to the Muslim world? I'm going to fulfill my civic duty and whip one up right now to set this ship straight. So much avoidable misunderstanding!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

USA Not A Threat To Muslim Countries
WASHINGTON, DC (January 30, 2008) - The USA is not a military threat to Muslim countries, announced the USA today. "The USA is not a military threat to Muslim countries!" shouted a high-ranking military official stationed in one of the Muslim countries the USA is currently occupying, straining to be heard over the firefight his unit was engaged in with some local Muslims. "We are not a threat to Muslim countries because we're plumb out of soldiers! It's just common sense that we can only occupy so many Muslim countries at any given time!" After taking a brief break to make orphans out of some more Muslim children, the official continued "Freedom! Democracy! Beacon of Hope!"

Contact:
John Q. Soulless, White House Media Relations
jqs@whitehouse.gov

[...]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nancy P. Propagandist To Head White House Media Relations
WASHINGTON, DC (January 31, 2008) - Nancy P. Propagandist is the new head of White House Media Relations, stepping into the role ably filled by John Q. Soulless, at least up until yesterday. John has decided to pursue an exciting opportunity in the seventh circle of hell.

Contact:
Nancy P. Propagandist, White House Media Relations
npp@whitehouse.gov
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, introduced Glassman to the committee, saying the public diplomacy post is "the closest thing to a supreme allied commander in the war of ideas and one of the most important posts in Washington."
Did he just say "supreme allied commander in the war of ideas" or did I dream it? Are we ready for that?

"Sir! We've got Hobbes and Spinoza pinned down at the Polish border, but they've summoned reinforcements! Kierkeguaard is coming at us from the east and Heidegger is providing air support!"
"Damn this war of ideas... damn it all to hell."
"Sir! We need a decision right now or we're going to be overwhelmed with enemy ideas!"
"Fall back. We'll meet up with Nietzsche and Sartre and prepare for another assault."

If you wonder what sort of man is capable of saying "supreme allied commander in the war of ideas" with a straight albeit drool-flecked face, don't miss this profile in the new yorker:
Lieberman likes expressions of American power. A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, a few seats down. The film was “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, “Yeah!” and “All right!”
I have it on good authority that he also pumps his fist whenever we make a confirmed kill in the war of ideas. Recent fist-pumping episodes include habeas corpus ("Yeah! Take that, magna carta!"), the taboo against torture ("All right! How'd you like that, mr. enemy combatant?") and any remaining sliver of the moral high ground ("Yeah! Outta the way, sliver! We can't beat a ragtag bunch of fanatics without getting our hands dirty!")
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