Ethical basis of PR & Propaganda

Unlike other tools of ‘Promotion Mix’ PR practices are always under scrutiny for gaining undeserving mileage.

It is a common assumption that “PR fiddles with truth” and widely regarded as “not-so-clean-profession”.

It is commonly believe that the main task of PR in politics is to divert people’s attention from serious problems and focus somewhere else.

The aim of propaganda is to influence and not necessarily to inform.

Propaganda attract followers to keep them in line.

Propaganda blanket every area of human activity so that the environment of an individual change to absorb a particular viewpoint.

In propaganda, it is believed that one is free to distract or even falsely achieve the designated purpose.

Case Study: “What Happened”!

  • “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What’s Wrong with Washington” is an auto-biographical bestseller by Scott McClellan, who served as White House Press Secretary from 2003 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.
  • It is about ‘Culture of Deception’ during Bush’s administration, and a \”political propaganda campaign\” instead of the truth to sell the Iraq war.
  • The book is also critical of the press for being “too accepting” of the administration\’s perspective on the Iraq War,and of Condoleezza Rice for being \”too accommodating\” and overly careful about protecting her own reputation.

Public Opinion Consolidation During Iraq War

  • There was a clear division on the opinion about war portrayed on the traditional mass media like newspapers, TV and radio in the USA and UK and what was witnessed on Internet and on the streets cutting across nationalities and religions.
  • Facilitating media in times of crisis suits the media facilitators to impose their point of view.
  • American media became an ally of the government by sending hundreds of embedded journalists to cover the war. This was publicized as a “part of larger embrace of an information society” by US Government.
  • Placing reporters on the front line with the US military in Iraq has been a public relation success. It improves the credibility of the military with the media and public.
  • British and American media in general have received criticism from all over the world for being partisan in covering the war.
  • There were instances shown by media as well people with opposite view on war which damages this carefully crafted credibility:

1.American soldier posing with the naked Iraqi prisoners

2.American soldier urinating on an Iraqi prisoner

3.British soldiers torturing Iraqi soldiers

  • These pictures did enough damage to both, George Bush and Tony Blaire, to allow any room for damage control. Bush forced to release a statement which reads as “the actions of some soldiers did not represent the America that I know. The action of these few people do not reflect the hearts of American people.”
  • This has an impact on market as well. Restaurants in Germany took everything American off their menu to protest the Iraq war. In retaliation to France’s criticism, some US restaurants renamed ‘French Fries’ as ‘Freedom Fries’

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