Monday, January 02, 2006

HOW NOT TO RUN A PR CAMPAIGN

VIA Orbusmax we have this little jewel from Al-Jazeera:

"Iraq: Better off under Saddam"

http://www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID=10326

They need to shoot - oops! I mean fire - their proofreader...

The article leads with snippets from the latest Harris poll, mistakenly referred to as the "Harrit Interactive" poll.

Just to make sure, I looked around. It's a typo. Here's the December 29th Harris poll mentioned in the article, which Al-Jazeera didn't link:

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/

The article goes on with analysis claimed to be taken from a website:

http://malcomlagauche.com/index.html

The site header proclaims "LAGAUCHE IS RIGHT. In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Malcom Lagauche is a pseudonym for Jeff Archer, the self styled left-wing political analyst who is quoted in the piece. None of the writings Al-Jazeera quoted were available on the website, so I couldn't verify the source.

You've read it all before...

More than that I could not find out about Mr. Archer.

Well, what of it? Well, this. Orb over at Orbsmax cleverly - and accurately - characterized the original Al-Jazeera article as an "Al-Jazeera PSA."

Two points here:

First, I wonder who they are really writing to. I've read a lot of pieces written by Arabs for Arabs. Somehow, this article doesn't come across as written for an Arab audience.
I think this PSA was written for readers in the West, which says Al-Jazeera understands well that the real battle which must be won is the battle for Western public opinion - particularly American public opinion.

Second, it's an Al-Jazeera PSA quoting an American poll taken of Americans and backing the poll up with analysis from an American, and adding only a bit of their own editorializing near the end. I wonder how many of their writers today are American, British or French citizens.
Certainly, this sort of writing puts the fire in the claim "the left" is America's worst enemy. The writing of a self described left-wing writer who believes we live in times of universal deceit ends up fodder for the closest thing there is to a media voice for America's declared enemies.
I wonder if he's comfortable with that...

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