Friday, July 29, 2005

Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain

When Karen Hughes starts her new job trying to spin the entire Arab world with her special brand of pathologically rigid message discipline - i.e., repeating the same sunny catch phrases over and over while Bush & Co. go on their merry way, doing what they please - it won't work:

To fight these [anti-Western] ideas, friendly state visits from Laura Bush will not suffice. Neither will more Britney Spears songs for Muslim teenagers, which is what we play on U.S.-funded Farsi and Arabic radio in the Middle East. Instead, we need to monitor the intellectual and theological struggle for the soul of Islam, and we need to help the moderates win. This means making sure that counter-arguments are heard whenever and wherever Muslim clerics and intellectuals are talking, despite the impact of Saudi money.

Like all PR, Bush- and Hughes-style PR is at its heart fakery, and insulting fakery at that. Only 50.3 percent of Americans bought it in the last election. It won't sway the Arab world.