kees/ventana on Wed, 17 Oct 2001 15:41:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Oorlog is Vrede (3)

Eerder werd hardop afgevraagd of de berichtgeving over de 'nieuwe
oorlog' in Amerikaanse/Europese media wel als propaganda bestempeld mag
worden. Het antwoord is natuurlijk dat dat *niet* mag, omdat het anders
niet werkt. Propaganda is iets van partij-commissarissen die met een
schaar achter het bureau klaar zit. Die heb je in het rijke Noorden
(meestal) niet. 

De media-strategie van de Amerikaanse overheid wordt geleid door een
bureau met de prachtige naam "Office for Public Diplomacy". Hetzelfde
bureau dat in de jaren '80 pr voor de contra-terroristen in Nicaragua
organiseerde, en rondom de invasie van irak in Koeweit met de 'scoop'
kwam dat het eerste dat de Irakese invasoren deden, naar het ziekenhuis
rennen was om daar de pasgeboren baby's uit de couveuses te halen en op
de grond te smijten. Deze verzonnen gebeurtenis werd snikkend verteld door een
vrouw die zich voordeed als vluchtelinge en later dochter van de
ambassadeur in Washington (als ik het me goed herinner) bleek te zijn,
en ging onmiddellijk de hele wereld over. Ze zijn er nog steeds trots

Hieronder iets meer inkijk in het OPD, dat nu overweegt zendtijd te kopen bij
Al-Jazeera, nadat de poging om de zender te beknotten mislukt is. Het
artikel komt van MER (zie onderaan) die het weer uit een mij verder
onbekend blad voor adverteerders heeft, AdAge. Uiteraard is dit de
versie die ze zelf naar buiten willen doen komen; alsof ze zich beperken
tot wat postbus 51-achtige spotjes...


Would Wage Battle for Islam's Hearts and Minds, Says Charlotte

Longtime ad executive Charlotte Beers, the State Department's chief
of public diplomacy, is weighing an unconventional strategy to get
the U.S. message across in Afghanistan:

[WASHINGTON - 15 October - AdAge]:  Faced with "a battle for the
mind" and the need to tell moderate Muslims that the U.S. isn't
fighting Islam, Ms. Beers said the State Department is investigating
new ways to reach out.

Among the possibilities: advertising on Qatar-based news channel
Al Jazeera, Osama bin Laden's favored broadcast venue. "I will
choose any channel of distribution, any format that will get the
job done," said Ms. Beers, the former chairman of WPP Group's J.
Walter Thompson Co., who three weeks ago was confirmed as undersecretary
of state for public diplomacy.

"This is probably what I bring to the party. I have seen how such
messages and such formats work." 'Battle for the mind' Terrorism,
Ms. Beers said, "is a battle for the mind. & The role of public
diplomacy is undergoing major reassessment. However one might
interpret it, [public diplomacy] is a vital new arm in what will
combat terrorism over time. All of a sudden, we are in this position
of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves under this
kind of attack, but also for the outside world."

Ms. Beers plans to put together an advisory council of Arab and
Muslim leaders to help craft what the U.S. should communicate in
foreign countries. Among the points to advocate: The U.S. is not
opposed to Islam; Mr. bin Laden and his followers misstate the
Koran and what Muslim religion says; the U.S. is working to provide
humanitarian aid. Speeches, media interviews, advertising and a
more direct approach -- building radio stations to beam programs
toward target populations -- are among options Ms. Beers is

The State Department has made no final decision whether to use ads.

Buying time on Al Jazeera "The [immediate] problem is getting the
message articulated and understood," Ms. Beers said. "Then I will
worry about channels of distribution. I know how to do that. It
may be imperfect. It's not like I can call up a channel and run
it. But if I have to buy time on [satellite-TV broadcaster] Al
Jazeera, I would certainly consider it." The network drew attention
last week when Mr. bin Laden, the terrorist leader, used it to
release his statements after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. Ms.
Beers' job puts her in charge of both the State Department's public
affairs side, which handles messages aimed at a U.S. audience, and
the public diplomacy section, aimed at a foreign audience.

Ms. Beers, who was nominated last spring, originally expected to
have six months to a year to develop a plan to expand the State
Department's target audience from government leaders and opinion
makers abroad to a broader population.

Now she has to do that same job immediately and instantly and under
challenge as terrorist leaders try to give their own view of America.
Ms. Beers said fighting this attack is especially complex because
it puts the U.S. government in a position of discussing much more
than policy differences.

'Dialogue of great emotional context'

"We are talking about religion with all its connotations and
emotional aspects. If you think about the dialogue that the State
Department [normally uses] and the government itself speaks to,
[here] we are forced into a dialogue of great emotional context &
where people discuss their religion, aspects of purity, [and] they
accuse us of goals and beliefs that we haven't even heard of in
our lifetime."

The message the U.S. needs to deliver, most of it through conventional
channels of American foreign service officials delivering speeches
and media interviews, is about who the U.S. is and what it stands
for, she said.

"We have got to be able to get our messages in their context &
messages about who we are, what we believe in, where we stand and
basic information messages about what the president said, what the
policies are and how the U.S. is running an immense aid program at
the same time it is trying to target the Taliban and its supporting
organization. "In addition to what our policies are, what we haven't
felt the need to communicate is what is the value system," Ms.
Beers said.

"What are our beliefs? What do the words freedom and tolerance
mean? We are having people who are not our friends define America
in negative terms. It is time for us to reignite the understanding
of America." Ms. Beers said the communications challenges are made
harder by cutbacks at the State Department over the past few years.
She said the department will need additional resources.

Ms. Beers is working with the Ad Council to develop public-service
spots that could run in the U.S.

She said she hasn't yet worked out an agenda with the council but
has some ideas. She declined to detail them just yet. "We will need
to refresh the public's participation in a long campaign," Ms.
Beers said, "to understand terrorism and to debunk the mythology
that surrounds it and to make the American people understand and
be vigilant about what is almost an invisible enemy."

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