Without PR Firms, Could Mideast Dictators Remain in Power?

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Certain Arab rulers of despotic nations are masters of propaganda – spending time on style over substance as working with media and PR agencies allows them the strength (and cover) to remain in power. These brutal dictators kill, oppress and ignore civil rights – but they spend millions charming (and spinning) the media while utilizing many of the world’s leading PR firms to assist them in their despotic ways. The media and public relations communities should examine their roles as accomplices to this wanton violence.

This fall, there are two specific nations who are utilizing significant public relations operations to benefit their dictatorships. At www.bahrainwatch.org one learns that the government of Bahrain has spent $32 million on US and UK PR agencies since the start of protests in Bahrain in February 2011. During that time period, at least 60 people have been killed by government security forces, and the government is regularly described as one of the world’s most brutal regimes.

Owning 5WPR, a leading PR firm, I know first-hand that firms like Bell Pottinger, Hill & Knowlton & Qorvis, who are working for Bahrain, have significant impact upon media coverage and are effective. A good crisis PR agency can shape what media reports, and how.  There’s a reason they get the big bucks. This week, CNN is under criticism for refusing to air a documentary, “iRevolution: Online Warriors of the Arab Spring,” which it had commissioned and produced that featured footage of government forces shooting unarmed protesters.

Meanwhile, largely unreported, police brutality continues, as police fired tear gas and stun grenades at dozens of anti-government protesters who defied a ban on unauthorized demonstrations. $32 million spent in the last 18 months on public relations is a huge amount, sure to influence media coverage, and hence world opinion.

Syria is another nation which has spent heavily while killing its citizens – and the story isn’t headline news as it should be daily. As has been previously reported, NY PR firm Brown Lloyd James has worked with Syria extensively to help Assad get away with murder (as they did with Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi.)

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  • bob e

    don't think i can make it through another
    9-11 with a fraudulent president & his propaganda
    ministry. it is so depressing.. i fear for all
    the good people of my country.

  • ZVI

    Please investigate how much the P.A. and Hamas spend on "spin" and which P.R. firms they use.

  • UCSPanther

    I do not know how a PR spin firm can polish these turds of dictatorships, nor how people can believe it.

    I guess Goebbels had a saying here regarding propaganda…

  • Schlomotion

    It's understandable, but not valid, to believe that since you work at a PR firm, PR firms are crucial to the functioning of the world. The ice cream man probably believes the world revolves around Push-Up pops, just like the policeman thinks law enforcement is the complete measure of society, just like toll booth operators probably view everything like a coin-operated doorway.

    I posit that any business that has to constantly remind people what business it is is probably not an important business at all. After all, people relate to the public every day, being that they are… the public. To be a Public Relations guy simply means that you think you do it better than other people, and can sell that as a service. From what I read about 5WPR, they seek out already high profile public figures and convince them that they can help them relate better to the public. I suppose if people throw money at someone already because they are on television already, it can be a pretty cushy job to consume some of their money selling them to a public that already buys them. It's like those wardrobe consultants and shopping assistants for rich but worthless non-celebrities. You sniff out someone who is hemorrhaging money and you pander to their vanity, and then live parasitically off of them for a while. I wouldn't go as far as Mr. Torossian and say that that industry props up the whole Middle East though. That's far-fetched.

    • poppakap

      Once again, slomo demonstrates he knows nothing about which he is speaking. Despite his verbosity, the words are empty and meaningless; pontification, projection, and obfuscation over rational discourse is his trademark. After all, this is a person who longs to be a professional writer and envisions himself as one but does not have and can not obtain such an engagement.

      His working frustration combined with anti-semitism and unrequited man-love for several FPM authors make his comments an interesting example of the derangement afflicting many modern day leftists.

    • Greg

      And schlomo keeps coming back… and back… and back… Classic definition of madness…

      • mlcblog

        to some, negative attention is fine…better than none at all, or perhaps exactly what they are used to…poor guy.

  • flowerknife_us

    One is making a broad assumption that the "good guys" are good.

    Where is the example Assad should follow as to leaving power while keeping your neck?

    If the indigenous population felt safe and secure under eventual rebel rule, Assad would be long gone by now.

    The Family Feud has been going on for Century's. Muslim on Muslim violence will only compound itself as the most Pious splinter into ever smaller groups.

    Sure, they all talk about unity until it comes to splitting the spoils. Then Socialism fly's right out the tent.

    After 11 years the American People may have just become numb about Muslim on Muslin violence. They might just get fried if they were to understand-clearly- what the non Muslim populations were going through as a result.

    Pond scum is pond scum. It makes no difference what pond you find it in. Pond scum forms from stagnation. The west has tried over the many Century's to create the flows necessary to eliminate or reduce the growth of pond scum. Apparently, by Islamic claims, with the very knowledge they acquired yet threw away. Now the most fundamental are once again killing to get back in the pond.

  • Ghostwriter

    Once again,Schlomotion shows us that his stupidity is limitless.

  • flowerknife_us

    One is making a broad assumption that the "good guys" are good.