Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Promoting US Accomplishments

The Washington Post has excellent coverage of a new USDA initiative to increase support for US work in Iraq. Their tactic: subtly insert the message into speeches whenever possible. The article cites a memo that provides examples of transitions for speechwriters that are anything but seamless. Apparently, the USDA saves the text and then compiles a "weekly account sent to the White House." What does the White House do with USDA speeches praising US efforts in Iraq? How could that possibly be useful to anyone?

In a more sensible move to strengthen public relations, USAID has finally decided to release several of the neverending stream of reports that I submit. No doubt this will bolster American support for the war, change the media's appreciation of reconstruction efforts, and dramatically improve the President's approval ratings. One story, about our anti-corruption work in Anbar governorate, was penned six months ago. Another piece, "Supporting Women in Traditional Communities" was written a few months later and posted here. Right now the USAID link doesn't work, though the first paragraph is visible from the main page. I've emailed the webmaster without any result. At this rate, the country might be stabilized before this project's success stories have been published. Though half the links won't work.

USAID actively discourages contractors from contacting the media and promoting our accomplishments. They have their own communications office which is supposed to coordinate such matters. It sure does make sense that we're denied this authority. How could anyone but the US government possess the genius that it took to craft the USDA's communication strategy on Iraq?

(Update: They fixed the link to the Women's Training)


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