The MidEast PR Machine: From Assad to the Palestinians

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The following by HR Managing Editor Simon Plosker is republished courtesy of The Commentator.

 

Israelis are often, and sometimes with justification, criticized for their inability to get their message across in the media and to the world at large.

But what about Israel’s neighbours in the Middle East?

The leaking of hundreds of emails from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s office by the “Anonymous” hacking group revealed, amongst other items, a document preparing Assad for his December 2011 interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.

This crib sheet of talking points shows that the Syrian regime fully understands how the Western media can be manipulated by pressing all the right buttons. Of course, no amount of PR is likely to mitigate the effect of events on the ground being brought to us through YouTube videos recorded by civilians in Homs or by Western journalists operating beyond the reach of their Syrian government minders.

Nonetheless, someone in the Syrian government has picked up some useful tips for crisis communication and public relations, including how to manipulate the American and, by implication, the broader Western psyche:

“It is hugely important and worth mentioning that “mistakes” have been done in the beginning of the crises because we did not have a well-organized “police force”. American Psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear that there are “mistakes” done and now we are “fixing it”. It’s worth mentioning also what is happening now in Wall Street and the way the demonstrations are been suppressed by police men, police dogs and beatings.”

You may also be interested in: Syria and Israel: All the Same For Fisk

The talking points even recognize the importance of social media such as YouTube and Facebook for an American audience as well as the comments sections below the articles:

“The comments that follow any article in the American Media are a very important tool to use in the interview. The Americans now believe that their government has failed two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are asking their government to stop interfering in other countries businesses and sovereignty and to start taking care of the American internal issues.”

Is it any surprise that Assad believed that the Western media could be effectively manipulated to serve the regime? Not if one considers that the same methodology has been applied by Israel’s enemies for years.

Continued on Page 2

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