United States of Propaganda

The Associated Press investigative piece on the nearly $5 billion the Pentagon spends on recruitment, advertising, and public relations is certainly provocative, although it should not be surprising. The U.S. military has to sell its story – whatever war we happen to be in at the moment – for recruitment, funding, morale, to cover elected officials, and to battle the other side in the propaganda war.

Hamas, Al Qaida, rogue states, any terrorist with a computer and a modem can battle the thousands of people and billions of dollars the U.S. government can pull together for a propaganda offensive. See video below – U.S. PR pros spinning with the best of us. The question is – should the U.S. government maintain a huge propaganda apparatus to spin U.S. citizens? My question back – How can they resist?

Public relations is so ingrained in all government, political and corporate operations. Why should the military be exempt? With the Internet and the free flow of information the other side of any argument is always available and widely disseminated.

PR News Stuck in Abacus Land

PR News lives in the age of the abacus with its new Digital PR GuidebookYour blueprint for executing high-return digital communications initiatives and managing reputation online. – boasts the lead in the PR News pitch for its first ever Digital PR Guidebook (pdf).  Since PR News does not supply review copies, as is customary in publishing, and they are charging an outrageous $399 for a book that can probably be trumped by a web-savvy junior account exec, I have decided to offer absolutely free PRBlogNews Digital Communications For PRummies (PR Dummies).

It’s ‘digital’ PRummy - Printing a hard copy book on ‘digital’ anything is obviously ludicrous to anybody studying or practicing ‘digital’ communications. Digital strategy changes so often that a hard bound book is obsolete by the time you buy it. PR News does not even offer a digital alternative to the hard bound book – how many trees die for this digital ‘intelligence’?

We’re in a recession PRummy - $399? You can probably find better examples of digital communication strategies and tactics free on the web in one afternoon. You don’t deserve bailout funds if you waste your money like this.

It’s the conversation PRummy - Three days ago PR News sent me an email pitching its $399 paper tome. I emailed the PR News “Marketing Assistant” asking about review copies and an available digital edition. She forwarded me via email to a fellow at PR News “Client Services Department” who emailed back:  “Thank you for your message. For complete information about this publication, including an online order form, please visit http://www.prnewsonline.com/store/7.html.”  No answer there, I emailed back “Client Services Department” for clarification – they still have not responded.

I would like to submit this post to the next edition of the Digital PR Guidebook – slot it in the section on ”How to Pitch a Blog.”

You can’t blame PR News for trying to co-opt ‘digital.’  They just don’t get it – witness the PR News TV video series on its web site, proving incontrovertibly that PR about PR will be always be boring, hedged, and virtually, if not totally irrelevant.

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