Posted by Bruce Pilgrim Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Talking to My Cats: 9-11-07
Remember Baghdad Bob? Last seen on April 8, 2003, Bob (aka Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf) had just issued his latest (and what turned out to be his last) statement about the invasion of Iraq. He said that Americans "are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks. They will surrender. It is they who will surrender."
Bob did not re-appear for the daily press briefing the following day and it was assumed that he had hightailed it out of there on the fast track to obscurity. Not so. Bob has been a very busy boy since then. He's been working as a PR consultant for a lot of high profile accounts, including the White House.
We've been hearing his words on a daily basis for more than four years. White House press secretaries have been relaying Bob's voice verbatim to the press. He feeds them their lines via special implants, an advanced version of the early prototype we saw sticking up under George W. Bush's suit coat during the 2004 debates.
Think about it. Before he joined the White House, would Tony Snow would ever have said something such as this:
"In response of the news of the day, the President was briefed before and after -- before, during and after the bike ride on ongoing developments in London, and continues to be briefed during the day, regardless of where he may be." (June 30, 2007.)
Would Dana Perino have ever come up with something as idiotic as the following all by herself:
"The President realizes that today is the fourth anniversary of the day he gave a speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln. As I said last Thursday in the briefing, that speech has been widely misconstrued, and I encourage people to go back and read it. The President did say we had a long and difficult road ahead of us. We're moving from a dictatorship to democracy." (May 1, 2007)
The White House is not Bob's only client, however. He's been consulting for such PR-challenged outfits as Jet Blue, Whole Foods Market, and most recently, Robert Murray, CEO and President of Murray Energy. Plus, he's been busy editing Wikipedia entries for the likes of Raytheon, Diebold, Dow Chemical, and Union Carbide.
I tracked Bob down recently and he looks really good. He's shaved off his moustache and traded in his Iraqi military uniform for an Armani suit. He refused to be photographed, but he did agree to share some of his favorite strategies and tactics. "I didn't invent them," he said with his signature smile, "But they come in handy when you're fronting for a dictator, covering-up malfeasance, or spinning a story."
1. Denial is your friend. Americans are unbelievably gullible and they distrust the media. Denial buys you time to come up with a better idea – or implement your exit strategy and get the hell out of Dodge.
2. Misdirection is an art. Disagree with scientists and other so-called experts. What the hell do they know? Say it was an accident, a weather balloon, an earthquake, or swamp gas.
3. Blog, you fool, blog! Slam the competition under a fake name, obfuscate, plant rumors and innuendos.
4. Bombast totally rules. Talk loudly, contemptuously, and authoritatively. It intimidates the media and chicks dig it. Don't be afraid to shout out to the world that you are not gay,
5. Re-read 1984. You are the Ministry of Information. Don't be afraid to ignore reality, remodel the truth, or rewrite the past.
6. Attack the media. Make them the story, with all their negativity, and their myopic focus on bad news. Those bastards.
7. Blame politicians in Washington, even if you yourself actually are a politician in Washington. Millions of yahoos in flyover country will buy it.
8. Pretend to be the victim. Here, you've been working your butt off all these years to serve America, and this is how they repay you?
9. Sue 'em! Or at least, threaten to sue. Even if you never actually get around to filing, it makes it look like you are the injured party.
10. Invoke the Almighty. You're merely a humble servant of the deity, a person of faith trying to do his or her best while accepting God's will. He (or she) works in mysterious ways, after all.
11. Develop amnesia.
How, I asked Bob, would you sum up your PR philosophy?
"If all else fails, parse words, back paddle, and split hairs. Discuss the meaning of the word 'is' and say things like 'that statement is inoperative.'"
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
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