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Re: Design and public opinion - fully on topic

From: gregj <gregj-AT-dayspring.com>
Date: 13 Aug 2001 15:21:02 UTC   (10:21:02 AM in author's locale)
To: The Graphics List <graphics-AT-lists.graphicslist.org>
www.gopusa.com/caroldevinemolin/index.html

This particular article is probably still there.

Greg

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on 8/13/01 4:47 AM, Robbins, Christopher at
christopher.robbins-AT-multexinvestor.co.uk wrote:

> That's a really interesting article. Where's the link to the original, so I
> can link it for some others?
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> Thanks,
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> Christopher
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: gregj [mailto:gregj-AT-dayspring.com]
> Sent: 10 August 2001 18:18
> To: The Graphics List
> Subject: Design and public opinion - fully on topic
>
>
> Below is a copied & pasted recent article about Israel's public relations
> effort. Rather than trying to open a can of worms about who is on who's side
> of the cause, note that this article is from a conservative perspective of
> Israel's efforts. So, please view this from the "hmmmm, that's what THEY are
> doing with professional communicators" perspective.
>
> Here is a real-life example of a group hiring communicators with the goal of
> shaping an opinion. A PR firm from NYC has been hired, and they are pursuing
> a campaign effort that involves multiple media avenues. It may be
> interesting to note, in this case, that posters and printed advertisments
> would be just a piece of the whole puzzle. This firm is even making
> recommendations to their client (the country, of course) to do things like
> paint their rubber bullet-firing weapons orange as a cue to the world
> watching media coverage that these are not live-firing weapons.
>
> PRIMER: Just a thought, but if there would be any discussion about this
> particular example, perhaps discussing the theory of strategy may be a more
> worthwhile discussion than discussing whether or not the pr firm could be
> successful in their efforts "because I feel this way or that about the
> issue".
>
> Relevant, at least...
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> \/
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> Article:
>
> Israel's Public Relations Initiative: Vital To Its Cause
> By Carol Devine-Molin
> August 6, 2001
> (Printer-Friendly Version)
>
> Spin control is crucial in this modern age of media hype and orchestrated
> public attacks. As a nation perpetually under siege, Israel has smartly
> hired one of New York City's premier public relation's firms, Rubenstein
> Associates, in NYC, in order to favorably mold world opinion, via media of
> all types including myriad print venues and broadcast news organizations.
> This beleaguered nation seeks to create a positive image and accompanying
> reputation, while simultaneously informing and persuading the international
> community, especially in relations to its conflict with the Palestinians. As
> a tiny sovereign entity surrounded by enemy Arab nations in the Middle East,
> Israel is vitally dependent upon the cooperation and assistance of other
> nations, most notably the United States and its salient financial support.
> The struggle for Israel is no less than its quest for survival.
>
> And what is essential for Israel to communicate to the international
> community through the media? The Israelis must successfully convey the truth
> of the matter that they are not only fighting for their lives, but for their
> very existence as a nation as well, in an extremely hostile sector of the
> world. Moreover, the Israelis must emphasize that they truly seek a peaceful
> solution in the Middle East, within an atmosphere that guarantees its safety
> and security, and that of the Palestinians, too. It must also be
> definitively stated that Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat is palpably
> disingenuous, a liar and promoter of terrorism, not a true peace partner in
> the Middle East. And lastly, the Israelis must continue their appeal to the
> world community, urging them to keep the pressure on the Palestinians to
> change their ways and work toward peace, even withholding foreign aid monies
> to the Palestinians, if necessary.
>
> As indicated, Israel's battle with the Arab world must be waged not only "on
> the ground" but also in the trenches of the media. Integral to their work,
> public relations experts will ensure that "Israel's story" (its point of
> view) is widely disseminated in an expansive effort to garner the upper hand
> in the realm of worldwide opinion. Well-articulated, accurate and prompt
> information from the Israeli team must be promulgated assiduously.
> Furthermore, efforts to thwart Palestinian propaganda will be set in place,
> systematically challenging mistruths and misrepresentations. Given its
> ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, which poses the very real threat of
> spinning out-of-control into regional warfare, crisis management and crisis
> communication will undoubtedly continue to be the modus operandi of Israel's
> PR firm. Eliminating or diminishing damage is key, with these communications
> experts tackling problematic media situations head-on, not permitting them
> to fester. Honesty and openness curries favor over the long haul among the
> journalistic communities and worldwide public as well. No doubt, that is
> what the Rubenstein organization aims to accomplish.
>
> How do PR people effectively deal with negative stories and publicity out in
> the press? When there is bad news that must be overcome, Democrat
> spinmeister Lanny Davis is among the most proficient. Although this writer
> disagrees with Davis' partisan viewpoint, and it is questionable whether
> Davis always follows his own advice, his words nonetheless are insightful
> and valuable. In his book, "Truth To Tell", Davis admonishes to "Tell it
> early, tell it all, tell it yourself" as the best overall strategy to
> deflect the effects of deleterious information that can hurt your side.
> (Regarding the Condit-Levy case, or scandal du jour, note that Congressman
> Gary Condit has not taken this path, and has instead engaged in a stream of
> "rolling disclosure" that has proven to be a public relations debacle. He is
> now viewed in an extremely suspicious light by the public, and as "acting
> guilty". This risky tactic of "rolling disclosure", putting out tidbits of
> information over time in order to desensitize the public to particularly
> odious information, should be eschewed since it can terribly backfire).
>
> In cases where the facts are potentially very damaging, and very
> complicated, Davis recommends the use of a baseline or "predicate" story, to
> be generated by an individual reporter or news organization. "The advantages
> of the predicate story as a critical tool of damage control cannot be
> overestimatedSIf it is complete and accurate, it will likely kill or at
> least diminish follow-up stories, since there won't be much more to report".
> On the other hand, Davis warns that if the information is "incomplete and
> wrong", that it will grow "like a virus" causing tremendous difficulties.
> Clearly, cultivating journalists is imperative in the media world, with
> public relations people providing them with data and insights as to the
> situation at hand, and answering all questions. In this way, it maximizes
> the opportunity to get out the "interpretation or characterization of the
> facts most favorable" to a particular camp or PR client.
>
> Media images are profoundly powerful and often the fulcrum of public
> relations efforts. Distressing scenes that grip the collective psyche have
> viscerally impacted and mobilized nations. Who could forget harrowing
> imagery such as the rescue worker carrying out the dead child at the site of
> the Oklahoma City Bombing? Or how about the tragic and shocking sight of the
> Somali warlord's minions dragging the naked bodies of our dead soldiers
> through the streets of Mogadishu?
>
> Clearly, massaging outgoing visual content is essential to any successful PR
> campaign. The Palestinians have made significant inroads with videos and
> photos ostensibly demonstrating the cruelty of Israeli soldiers beating down
> upon a weak Palestinian population, which must defend itself with "rock
> throwing" at elite Israeli forces. These distorted images have clearly hurt
> the Israeli cause. In light of these representations, the Rubenstein firm
> has suggested that Israeli rifles (that shoot rubber bullets) be painted
> purple or orange to help television viewers understand that non-lethal
> rounds are being fired at Palestinian rioters. It has also been recommended
> that post-rioting areas be immediately cleaned up by the Israelis, thereby
> depriving newsmen from a ready scene at which to tape. "The fire-scarred
> street, which reaches a virtual dead-end at Israeli controlled territory, is
> strewn with burned-out cars and littered shrapnelSa convenient backdrop for
> television news crews based in nearby Jerusalem who need quick video to
> illustrate an uprising" (Baltimoresun.com, 7/27/01). Although cosmetic in
> nature, these represent helpful and practical advice by PR experts to
> improve Israel's reputation.
>
> An issue that is unfortunately resonating throughout the international
> community, and also damaging Israel's image, is the nation's policy of
> "targeted killing" of Palestinian terrorists. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
> has spoken with world leaders noting that these actions actually save lives
> and prevent terrorist activity that would escalate the overall conflict.
> "Israel reserves the right to defend its citizens, just like the US, Sharon
> told (Secretary) Powell, explaining that Israel's position would be
> unnecessary if Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat would arrest
> wanted terrorists" (Jerusalem Post website, 8/2/01). The United States has
> issued a condemnation of Israel, citing the recent deadly strike upon
> several Hamas members.
>
> A few weeks ago, Israel was supported by Christian leader Pat Robertson
> regarding its policy of surgical strikes against "known terrorists". He
> stated, "Which is more righteous? To make war against one person who is an
> architect of terror, or is it more righteous to wage war against an entire
> population?" (Jerusalem Post website, 7/4/01). Clearly, Israel's PR efforts
> must involve the participation of respected figures, coming to the forefront
> and publicly buttressing the notion that only dangerous terrorists in the
> act of perpetrating violent activities will be targeted for death. And it
> must be impressed that the net effect would be to save many lives.
>
> In conclusion, the media/communication effort to mold international opinion
> is just another tool to be utilized by Israel in its ongoing battle with the
> Palestinians, with military and diplomatic efforts representing other
> strategic endeavors in the mix.
>
>
>
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