Winning Hearts and Minds
Washington, DC Oct. 5th, 2006 ---- The biggest problem with the Bush Administration is that they are losing the Hearts and Minds of people both around the world, and now at home. The group that threatened world leaders with "Shock and Awe" and bombing them back to the Stone Age is losing thanks to their own media image.
The media image in today's world can be more effective than all the weapons in the Superpower's arsenal. That is not lost on terrorist organizations who are now learning the techniques of media manipulation through carefully placed audio and videotapes. Remember the poor quality home video from Bin Laden reaches many more eyeballs than any of the statements from George Bush, and the message results in action. Media messages without action are just background noise.
The media struggle is the most important battle to be fought by the United States. There is absolutely no chance of a safe withdrawal from Iraq unless the media battle is won beforehand. To date the techniques being used run from planting false stories, to bribing journalists to write glowing, and totally untrue accounts of successes. Massive Pentagon contracts are being wasted on this misinformation campaign. The arrogance of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush to fail and admit they are wrong in their media plan prevents any hope of change, or ultimate success. The same applies with appointing Karen Hughes to oversee the Department of State efforts to improve the collapsing image.
The problems with the Bush media campaign around the world pales by comparison with the battle being fought on the home front. The same contempt for the audience is at the root cause of both problems. Here the arrogance and corruption of Congressional leaders, from Newt Gingrich, through Tom DeLay to Dennis Hastert ensures a looming media disaster. Fortunately for them the lack on media management skills by the Democrats will cushion their fall.
The average person doesn't care about what the world thinks, and only comes to their senses when massive layoffs follows a drop in sales of American products around the world. Every negative media message is a cut, and death by a thousand cuts is torture.
At home the arrogance of politicians has reached record levels, not seen in living memory. They forget that their power is a function of a media illusion. All societies are a message and media campaign away from Civil War. The United States in nearer a second Civil War than many think, and with unfettered immigration could slip towards conflict within a decade.
The politicians who routinely lie and get away with it believe there is no limits for lies and misinformation to the voters. They are wrong. The saturation point, that metric the "Holy Grail" of propaganda can be measured, and the GOP is either very close, or has passed the point. The November elections will show the answer.
Overseas the message is getting across loud and clear from the "Terrorist Organizations" especially in the Middle East. The media stupidity of the media managers in Washington, DC cause that message to spread, especially by their blind support of Israel, ignoring any transgressions and failing to show remorse and sympathy with anyone other than the Israeli side of conflicts.
The future looks grim for the United States and Europe, especially the United Kingdom unless there is a serious reversal of the media message. The present one is both false, counter productive and generating sympathizers and recruits for terrorist organizations, and personnel to attack and bomb targets around the world.
Maybe a total Democratic landslide that sweeps away the Republican Congress is the answer. But then again under Clinton the global media message was allowed to wither and fade away. Let's hope they have learned from their mistakes.
For further reading:
Selling President Reagan's Message of America
Today the United States finds itself with the worst public image in the history of the Republic. Even staunch Allies are turning away from the highly visible failures of everything from Intelligence to Humanity.
The Rabid Religious Right don't care, for they are isolated from reality, often living in comfortable luxury awaiting Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. Sounds like a Conspiracy Theory, but it's too real.
It wasn't always so bleak. President Reagan realized the slipping public image of the United States around the world, and sought advice from the world's experts, not just Beltway Bandits carving up the national coffers for friends and family.
His advisers knew that there had to be a third party operation to pull this together, and one that could be seen as not being part of the Washington Beltway Brigade. The contracts to explore the feasibility and build the key parts of the network were given to Alan Simpson. He was responsible for visiting 125 US Embassies and helping create the first global political TV network and Selling the Message of America.