Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Which PR Firm Is Writing Ahmadinejad’s Speech?

September 20, 2012 10:50 pm 2 comments

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: Daniella Zalcman.

As the owner of 5WPR, one of the 25 largest PR Firms in America, I am never amazed at the inquiries which we receive. Having worked for Lebanese (anti-Syrian) interests, the Moroccan Tourism Ministry, Iraqex, (American interests in Iraq), and other Middle Eastern concerns, over the past few months, we have received discrete communiques from official and unofficial government liaisons who are seeking to manage, influence (and manipulate) media coverage.

This increased volume of confidential inquiries to my firm has prompted me to wonder which public relations firms have accepted offers to work for Anti-Western interests, making millions. As radical Islam spreads throughout the Middle East, it wouldn’t shock me if one of my peers or competitors is working with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he arrives in New York this weekend to an avalanche of press coverage. Ahmadinejad has shown that he understands the power of the press, and my experience tells me that it would be surprising for him to have that level of media understanding without advisors. I also wonder who is assisting Syrian President Assad now, as he clings to power in the bloodiest battle the world has seen in years.

In America, all public relations entities that represent foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities in a “political or quasi-political capacity” are required to disclose their clients due to FARA Laws (Foreign Agent Registration Act). But if the firm answers to a 3rd party, or a non-government entity is paying the bills, the laws are less clear. Many PR firms are multi-national corporations who skirt disclosure issues via International contracts – and throughout Europe there are no regulations for PR firms.

In time, we will discover that there are many anti-Western interests who are using PR agencies during these trying times. Many of the leaders of political Islam, from the government of Egypt which is now controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, to Syria, Libya (where the American Ambassador was recently killed), and Bahrain are undoubtedly managing media coverage.

Public Relations firms draft speeches, prepare leaders for interviews, draft and place articles in newspapers and introduce journalists to members of government.  PR firms work to try and prevent negative stories from running (or soften them if they do.) Whether utilizing lawyers to apply pressure, pulling favors, or other tactics, PR agencies make a difference – and Arab oil money can buy a lot.

There are many firms who should answer for what they are doing to harm Western interests. Bell Pottinger who has worked for Bahrain (a nation which has spent $32 million on US and UK PR agencies since February 2011), Harbour Group, a Washington D.C. based firm working with the new Libyan government, Patton Boggs, which previously worked for Gaddafi, and recruited prominent American academics to praise the Libyan government are prime suspects. International PR firm Brown Lloyd James worked for Assad and Gaddafi in the past – and they, like the other cast of questionable characters won’t comment on their current clients.

The PR industry is a small, tight knit industry and it isn’t easy for me to write about this sensitive issue. Dictators and Middle Eastern governments pay well – but sleeping well at night and doing the right thing should be more important to leaders of the public relations industry.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a Top 25 US PR Agency.

2 Comments

  • Beyond PR, one ought to bring the K Street lobbying organizations and outfits like Patton & Boggs into the mix here. Back in the mid-1980s I happened to work for Rich Edelman in New York and was active in programs for East Germany, France, Mexico and an Israeli company called Scitex. Transparency and compliance with what today is called FARA was key. But look, there were lobbyist guys like Charlie Wilson who was a great friend of Israel who happened to let Osama Bin Laden out of the box. It cuts both ways. Regardless of who writes and focus groups the speech you put a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers on Ahmadinejad and he’ll get 100,000 more friends. It doesn’t work that way for Bibi or Ehud Barak.

  • Great story by 5wpr – Who does work for Iran ? Do we know ?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Personalities Sports Book Pitches World War II as Lasting Part of Hank Greenberg’s Legacy

    Book Pitches World War II as Lasting Part of Hank Greenberg’s Legacy

    JNS.org – Baseball fans might most vividly remember Hank Greenberg for his chase of Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1938 and his other impressive exploits on the field. The smaller universe of Jewish baseball fans may remember him for sitting out a crucial game on Yom Kippur decades before Sandy Koufax would do the same. But author John Klima wants readers of any background to know the unsung story of Greenberg’s World War II service. As indicated by its […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →