Why Even the Best PR Is Failing the Elites
Questionable regimes often use PR companies both to improve their image in general – and following specific incidents. Is there any way for us to know truth from spin? This question takes on more urgency given what's going on in the Middle East, and efforts of established leaders to ensure they stay in their seats of power. In this article I want to examine not only overseas' PR but also how top Western powers use promotional mechanisms to put forward their own agendas, and why they may be failing now.
Certainly leaders such as those who occupy seats of power in the Middle East have plenty of money to throw around; their are well-known companies, especially Western ones, that will help them polish their images. And well-known universities that will turn a blind eye to their questionable support – as the London School of Economics embrassingly admitted this week. Many Middle Eastern states now in turmoil have long since acquired PR representation, and Britain – London, really – is the region of choice because unlike the US in the UK there is no regulation demanding that foreign entities register their PR activities with the Dept. of Justice.
What's the biggest player in London? It's apparently the firm known as Bell Pottinger, which may have a client list that includes Libya, Bahrain, Belarus, and even tycoon Boris Berezovksy. Libya supposedly paid Bell Pottinger millions to try to influence Western sentiment regarding the Lockerbie bombing case, in which Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members.
The payment resulted in a number of "alternative" theories about the bombing, though lately it has emerged more strongly than ever that Muammar al-Gaddafi himself ordered the attack in retaliation for the US's bombing of one of his palatial homes, which resulted in the death of his infant daughter.
Britain recently set up a new regulatory body to supervise the PR industry, but it did not change the bottom line anonymity of international PR clients. They still do not have to report their agendas or PR activities. Thus it is that London's Soho remains "ground zero" for efforts to remake the images of some world's most questionable nation-states.
Despite its activities with overseas clients, Soho cannot be said to the only epicenter of ruling elite "spin." We have just witnessed in this past week a declaration that the US itself should enter into the information wars with increased aggressiveness. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the call before a congressional committee, saying that the US is losing the global information war and needs additional funds to compete with adversaries.
Not only is this a remarkable admission, it also provides us with a reminder that PR (in the broadest sense) is not practiced only by private firms. Nation states themselves, especially the large Western powers, are focused on presenting messages of self-interest in the most palatable way to a worldwide audience. If one can sway public opinion, the payoff is often seen in reduced costs and even the avoidance of military activity.
Clinton was candid about the current US information gap. "We are in an information war and we are losing that war. Al Jazeera is winning, the Chinese have opened a global multi-language television network, the Russians have opened up an English-language network. I've seen it in a few countries, and it is quite instructive," she is reported to have remarked.
She called on Congress to expand funding dramatically so the US might take advantage of new-age information tools such as Twitter; the State Department is apparently tweeting in Arabic, Farsi, Hindi and a number of other languages.
Clinton's remarks received widespread attention because of their frankness. Top officials of large Western countries usually do not admit that they are involved in deliberate public relations programs, much less that their nations are ending up on the losing side.
Critics of her statements were quick to point out that the US had long counted on the global reach of its ubiquitous media, but that in the Internet era there were many other ways of receiving information. The US – the Anglosphere, in fact – can no longer count on delivering a primary message.
Of course this is a perspective for which we've been "pounding the drums" on a regular basis. Ever since this site was created, we've tried to make the point that the dominant social themes of the Anglo-American elite are gradually unraveling. The world, in fact, is engaged in a massive contest between what I've called the "truth-telling of the Internet" and the long-established fear-based promotions of Anglo-American power elite.
This is a fairly unexpected occurrence, given the dominance that the Anglosphere had regarding media in the 20th century. But in the 21st century, the messages that the Anglosphere elite purveys worldwide have been muddied and undercut on a regular basis. This is really what Clinton was referring to in her remarks, but doubtless, as blunt as she was, explaining the Anglosphere's communication strategy in detail was not going to happen.
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the "spin" that the Middle-Eastern powers-that-be were trying to put on current events by hiring top-gun PR firms out of London. But the West's ongoing promotional campaigns make the PR programs of such countries look feeble indeed.
As we've tried to establish throughout this modest electronic newspaper's existence, the Anglo-American elite, that tiny coterie of intergenerational families located mostly in the City of London, has actually reconfigured the entirety of Western culture to conform to its messaging. They have done this using the phenomenal money power of central banking, which has in turn distorted the West's sociopolitical systems and created cultural networks of impossible size dedicated to its many fear-based themes.
The goals of foreign dictators are mainly to survive and to be perceived as wise protectors of the state and its people. The Anglo-American elite by contrast holds no direct power but seeks power by using a variety of mind-manioulation means to install world government – a new world order – via its promotional strategies. Using various scarcity memes, it attempts to push Western middle classes into giving up power and wealth to certain global institutions (think UN) designed as receptacles.
The scale of what has occurred is astonishing. Via a network of universities, think-tanks, controlled media, politicians and legislators, the elite propagates its memes almost at will. Global warming is a good example. This fear-based meme began close to a half century ago (or maybe longer) with the "environmental" movement. When one looks closely at the roots of such a movement, the funding sources almost inevitably lead back to elite-institutions (Ford Foundation, etc.).
As the promotional mechanism gathers power, think tanks are coordinated to write White Papers and even books about the looming crisis. Certain educators – knowingly or not – advance the cause within academic journals under their control, while squeezing out and demonizing alternative points of view. The media is enlisted to propagate the promotion, interviewing "leading scholars" on the subject. Eventually, the UN takes up the cause using the "considered opinions" of the scientific community as a template to create policy mandates.
Once the UN has declared a particular issue to be one of global import, various national political leaders go to work attempting to enshrine legislation domestically that tracks the positions of the scientific community and the UN. The business community, too, will become involved, creating various marketing mechanisms and even whole new industries to take advantage of the "problem" that has emerged with such commanding force.
Over time, the combination of academic, media, political, business and even military involvement in the fear-based promotion is intended to create an overwhelming momentum that will establish yet another element of the New World Order. None of this is hypothetical by the way; one simply needs to look to the now-exposed global warming promotion to see how this sort of campaign is managed.
The idea of course is to create crises that can only be ameliorated by international action. The more global the solutions, the more global governance comes into play. Western elites virtually force internationalization using this sort of strategy. It is unfortunately beyond the comprehension of most people because the money power being leveraged to create this result is so massive, running into the tens of trillions of dollars.
Many people cannot conceive (even today) that the entire Western world has been reconfigured over the past century to support the power-elite's drive for world government, or that every facet of Western society – education, finance, politics, media – has been hollowed out and repositioned for this purpose. The conspiracy is vast, the ambition so extraordinary, the arrogance so overwhelming that it is difficult if not impossible to comprehend. It has to do, of course, with the credibility of the "big lie." The larger the lie the more people will believe it as they cannot fathom untruth on such a vast scale.
What is going on in the West almost defies description, and yet if one examines the totality of 20th century history, the facts begin to arrange themselves in a compelling way. And of course what gives us the opportunity to examine these facts is the Internet itself, which has proven an unanticipated and relentless adversary to the kind of elite promotional mechanisms I have described in this article. It is the Internet, in fact, that has caused someone like Hillary Clinton to sound the alarm that America (and the Anglosphere) is losing the information war.
What Hillary Clinton really means is that the globalist ambitions of the elite are under attack as never before. Their programs have been exposed and their secret manipulations are now known to millions. The entire edifice is beginning to tremble and shake. It is most difficult to manipulate people when they have begun to become aware of their manipulators and their manipulations. This is the problem that the Western elites face. It is the same problem, in fact, that Middle East despots face. National protests have ripped away the veil of authoritarianism and even the best "spin" of top PR companies cannot fully – or even partially – rectify the situation.
I will close by answering the question I posed at the beginning of this article. One cannot know for sure what is "spin" and what is reality when it comes to PR campaigns – either those organized on behalf Middle East dictators or the ubiquitous, all-encompassing promotions put in place by Western money power. The only solution is to pay close attention to the information being received via the mainstream media and compare and contrast it to information available on the (still relatively free) Internet and certain alternative television and radio networks.
PR and promotions are a fact of 21st century life, as they were in the 20th century. The difference is that we now have tools that can help us detect the difference between reality and propaganda. The more we use them, the more informed we shall be – and as Socrates is said to have stated, "the unexamined life is not worth living." Let us have the courage to live.
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 03/05/11 10:36 AM
OK I can't get the link to work:
"Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years"
National Geographic Daily News
Darn computers ruined a good punchline...
Posted by WorkingClass on 03/05/11 10:32 AM
Lies and liars may be losing their power. I hope so. The liars, here in the U.S. anyway, are responding by lying harder. G.W. Bush and B.H. Obama (our first unitary executives) lie or conceal the truth with everything they say for public consumption. Everything. If Hillary accidentally hints at the truth it's news. What will the people of Earth do when they finally emerge from the matrix? Beats me. But it does not bode well for our oppressors.
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 03/05/11 10:32 AM
"It is the Internet, in fact, that has caused someone like Hillary Clinton to sound the alarm that America (and the Anglosphere) is losing the information war. What Hillary Clinton really means is that the globalist ambitions of the elite are under attack as never before."
Drama Queen: Mommmmm! None of the kids at school like me!
Mom: Well, Carrie honey, if you hadn't used your telekinetic powers to destroy the prom maybe more of the kids wouldn't feel so angry at you, don't you know.
Drama Queen: Well let them wait and see my science project that will bring an end to Global Warming.
Mom: What's that honey?
Click to view link
Posted by Adam on 03/05/11 10:24 AM
Re: Saudi king to buy Facebook to end the revolt: report
'Tis a spoof, apparently.
Posted by Adam on 03/05/11 10:24 AM
Re: Saudi king to buy Facebook to end the revolt: report
'Tis a spoof, apparently.
Posted by Equipoised on 03/05/11 10:21 AM
@Jonathan and @DB
Here is the link and the quote for Hillary's comments regarding the opening of the new CFR office in DC.
"Thank you very much, Richard, and I am delighted to be here in these new headquarters. I have been often to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it's good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won't have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future."
Click to view link
Posted by Adam on 03/05/11 10:17 AM
Tehran Times -- Saudi king to buy Facebook to end the revolt: report
'In what is being termed as pure Wall Street Gordon Gecko tactics, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has decided to make an offer of $150 billion to buy out Facebook.'
Click to view link
Posted by Luc on 03/05/11 10:00 AM
Hilary's remark about the info war is just a trick to make viewers turn their attention to Al Jazeera, to me it is obvious that AJ has been bought ( if it wasn't already owned )by the propaganda machine ,( reports of air bombing on civilians that you never see , mention of mustard gas etc )dont under estimate the conning power of these people, like a good chess player every move is played for a reason.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Good point. Al Jazeera as we have pointed out many times is yet something else that is not as it seems. It is controlled at the end of the day by Western elites through Qatar, which founded and funded it and is a Western puppet state.
Posted by Fireberries on 03/05/11 09:53 AM
Well said, Mr. Wile, very well said. You affirm holy writ: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
I would add that we are surrounded now with secondary effects of long-standing power memes. Just yesterday, my wife and I were accosted by a blaring, amateur, three-member rock band on the main street of a small, rural U.S. town. The band had positioned itself exactly next door to the entry we had to take for our business. Noise level screeched to the level of pain.
Beyond that ear-splitting annoyance, my wife and I recognized a more sinister offense: rock music itself, created and fostered, imposed on an unsuspecting public, the Age of Aquarius introduced beginning decades ago, maintained since in ever-increasing effect, adopted by more and more young people who, ignorant of the source and reason, are increasingly alienated from their culture, their families, indeed, even from themselves.
This is another form of power meme, carefully designed to disrupt the very society that gave birth to freedom. The Beatles, hard rock, movies--all are part and parcel of our immersion in dissonance, crafted to upset us, disturb us, to cause us to tune out. It's all rather a tragic irony: tunes that make us tune out.
And that's what we saw on our small town street: the blaring cacophony had no audience, people crossing to the other side of the street to avoid the three "with-it" fellows who were "doing their thing" --yet another power meme.
We are imbedded in a power meme soup of seduction.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 03/05/11 09:50 AM
"The world, in fact, is engaged in a massive contest between what I've called the "truth-telling of the Internet" and the long-established fear-based promotions of Anglo-American power elite." ..... Anthony Wile
Are we/We are then to conclude, quite rightly, that such long-established fear-based promotions of Anglo-American power elite are simply spin to conceal the truth, Anthony?
And revelation/leaking of the truth as told over the Internet will destroy what is then an artificial power base/an Al Qaeda promotion?
Yes, I suppose IT will do that very easily and surprisingly quickly.
"I will close by answering the question I posed at the beginning of this article. One cannot know for sure what is "spin" and what is reality when it comes to PR campaigns ' either those organized on behalf Middle East dictators or the ubiquitous, all-encompassing promotions put in place by Western money power. The only solution is to pay close attention to the information being received via the mainstream media and compare and contrast it to information available on the (still relatively free) Internet and certain alternative television and radio networks."
One can know for sure what is "spin", Anthony, and those that do are worth their weight in diamonds, for gold is nowhere near valuable enough to reflect their worth. And it does have only wondering about the lack of intelligence in regimes which would flount fictitious tales as policies to follow rather than propagate truths as foundations upon which to build honest futures, which everyone can believe in, for there are no secrets available to advantage the dishonest.
"In this article I want to examine not only overseas' PR but also how top Western powers use promotional mechanisms to put forward their own agendas, and why they may be failing now." ........ And that is Brainwashing on a Mass Scale, for Man is surprisingly easily programmed to perform the most idiotic and mindless of tasks ....... with Deep Thinkers, their Virtual Masters and Slave Drivers.
Please note that that last paragraph is not offered as a question to deliver any doubt. It is as is stated.
However ...... there are new Players/Gamers/Non-State Actors, virtually astute and highly active and practically anonymous, master-piloting new directions and provisioning sub plots in the Alternate Reality Genre, and they are SMART enough to ensure that embattled traditional power elite force leaders always have the opportunity to shift allegiances and investments into vehicles which will transport them to the higher ground which controls their lost territories and fortunes below.
And the Power Elites of which they Daily Bell writes, will fully comprehend the perfect sense in all of the above, or lose everything to those who are able and enabled to Driver IT.
Such are royal and ancient games being played, and they do not suffer fools at all.
And as we are surely all too well aware of, behind the scenes, is there always so much more going on than will ever be made known .... and you may even be prevented from ever finding out too. :-) Need to know, don't you know.
Posted by Painted Out Of A Corner on 03/05/11 09:38 AM
..not to mention rupert murdochs media monopoly greedily devouring all Tv coverage; big Anglo promotion .
What exactly is the true mission of a 'set top Convertor!'
Constantly up-dating the things they are :O
Un- believable Times we are into.
Posted by John Danforth on 03/05/11 09:36 AM
Hillary's solution is 'more of the same' (money).
It won't work. Ideas are now sold on the basis of whether they are believable and logical. Disinformation on the internet has very short half-life compared to the monopoly of the past.
As to Russia's foray into television, etc, it seems the main value of it is in blowing up the memes of its adversaries. So it's entertaining, watching them snipe at each other, and it's valuable insofar as they destroy each others' disinformation campaigns. When they all start singing the same tune, watch out! Even so, they may be losing their most valuable trump card--the ability to use TV to declare and support war.
Posted by John on 03/05/11 09:25 AM
Maybe its the way I perceive the social world which confirms my model, it does seem to me that so many people are blind and defeated. Those who get informed retort back by saying there is nothing 'we or I' can do! The trade unions here in the UK have organized a protest asking for government cuts to be stopped and for the super rich to be taxed more to pay for the deficit!
Posted by B. Davis on 03/05/11 09:10 AM
Your article is absolutely "on the money' and hopefully will light the dark corners of some progressive minds.
I would suggest Hilary Clinton was using what could be a partial truth,to advance a bigger unspoken lie which is the government needs more money to increase it's effectiveness, and more power to regulate the existing private media, especially the internet and wireless communications.
As with all tyrants or would be tyrants , there is usually more truth in what they do not say, than waht they do say. One must always try to mentally insert themselves into the text and mind of the speaker to ascertain the intent for making the speech in the first place.
Posted by Ichabod on 03/05/11 08:47 AM
Age old question: "What is truth." Can't decide that question based on Socrates. Greek thought based on the Socratic method is "always searching and never coming to an understanding of the truth." "What is truth" is what Pontius Pilate said to Jesus who answered "I am the way, the truth and the life."
Of course, any thought of a soverign God is anathema to Libertarians who wish to place self in control. I have no problem identifying truth. Take Bloomberg TV. I received an honors degree in Journalism though I never intended to make that my life's work. But watching my fellow journalist's comment "Perception is realisty" set me thinking. That, of course, is pure nonsense.
But it's truth for those who dwell on perception creation to replace truth with perception created for a desired outcome. As for Hilary Clinton, she was part of the greatest perception campaign ever run in America. Like her husband, "It just depends on what the definition of "is" is." N'est pas?
Journalist like "perception is reality" because they are the once trying hard to creat their version of the truth. Yesterday, for example, Bloomberg did not show Ron Paul interviewing Bernanke. But they lit into him for his archaic "gold standard" views and Tom's Surveillance episode was disgusting in it's massage job on Ron Paul. That's the perception game simply illustrated.
I'd say the author is looking for truth in all the wrong places.
Posted by Tester 13 on 03/05/11 08:19 AM
Mr. Wile's message is very pertinent. It is obvious at a very basic level when one views ads for lipstick, bra's and jockey shorts."You'll never have a satisfactory love afair if you don't buy our stuff". Ww must eliminate from our information stream everything that does not conform to "Truth, Reason and Logic".
But then life will be exceeding boring, non? Also, Mr. Wiles may need a script editor.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by Lem on 03/05/11 08:11 AM
@ Reply from the Daily Bell, Re Gaddafi and PanAm 103:
It's all about keeping commerce unmolested (i.e. removing sanctions), I would imagine. Who knows what kind of deals are made behind closed doors at those levels. I might compare it to World Federation Wrestling. After hitting each other over the heads with chairs and putting on a good show (or PR, as you called it), they have a beer or a smoke together and practice their scripts:
"When al-Megrahi was handed over for trial, Libya declared that it would accept responsibility for his actions. But it never accepted guilt. This distinction was spelled out clearly in Libyan letters to the UN Security Council. In a BBC radio interview in 2004, the Libyan prime minister, Shukri Ghanem, underlined once again that compensation had been paid because this was the 'price for peace' and to secure the lifting of sanctions. When asked if Libya did not accept guilt, he said: 'I agree with that.'"
Click to view link
Posted by Lem on 03/05/11 07:19 AM
What's this you say about Gaddafi and PanAm 103? Take a closer look before final judgement:
"A former Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated. The retired officer " of assistant chief constable rank or higher " has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.
The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison. The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).
The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system. The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses "wrote the script" to incriminate Libya."
"CIA Involvement.: Lockerbie evidence was faked."
Click to view link
More about "the fix,"
"In his report Kochler wrote that he found the presence of US Justice Department representatives in the court 'highly problematic', because it gave the impression that they were '"supervisors" handling vital matters of the prosecution strategy and deciding which documents were to be released in open court and what parts of information contained in a certain document were to be withheld.'"
Click to view link
Reply from The Daily Bell
Didn't Libya essentially agree to accept blame and paid billions in damages? Anyway thanks for the interesting perspective. Who can put anything past the CIA at this point?
Posted by Painted Out Of A Corner on 03/05/11 07:08 AM
P.S! saying all that ,-i still reckon people are widely 'waking up & tryna grasp' @ least.
I walked around my local town yesterday (in Ire-land) & i never heard so many conversations about 'having NO money'..people are getting desparate & panicky.
The workers think the unemployed have it to-O good!! The benefits! are only pea-nuts compared to what these crooks Tax/Loot.
Divide & keep them conquered still has it's claws in 'em :(
I feel real potential for some sorta revolution though,-weather permitting!
Thanks again folks .