PR Agencies Fight for Good and Evil
A few months ago, first lady Michelle Obama tweeted “Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families,” and posted a photo of herself holding a piece of paper with the message “#BringBackOurGirls.”
Similarly, at the end of March, when Russian leader Vladimir Putin sent troops and tanks to invade Ukraine, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki posted a smiling photo of herself, with a thumbs-up, holding a sign that read “#United-For-Ukraine@State-Dept-Spox.”
Clearly some issues are being fought in the court of public opinion.
The latest news comes from FARA filings, which show that the governor of the Iraqi province of Mosul has hired Chartwell Consultancy for $300,000 to “assist in reclaiming land from Islamic State.” The firm, which is owned by former American Jewish Committee official Barry Jacobs, will be reaching out to Congress and the executive branch “with the expressed purpose of securing the territory and people of the Republic of Iraq’s Ninavah Governorate.” Hopefully the good guys will win on this one.
Meanwhile, there are others working for the bad guys – PR giant Burson-Marsteller has been retained by the Ennahdha (Renaissance) Party, which has been likened to the Tunisian Branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; New York PR Agency Brown Lloyd James worked for Syria’s Assad regime, as well as Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi; and Fenton Communications has worked for Qatar to delegitimize Israel.
In the great Nicolas Cage 2005 movie, Lord of War, his character Yuri Orlov, playing an arms dealer says, “Without operations like mine it would be impossible for certain countries to conduct a respectable war.” Indeed, there’s many in the PR world who may be able to say the same.