29 January 2010

Public Relations of War Part 2

Media Control

War and public relations - these are two inseparable concepts. The first one probably wouldn’t have place in human world if it wasn’t for the other one (though PR is often thought to be a modern profession its roots are thousands years old). And as I wrote before governments use public relations and propaganda to manipulate their audiences and gain their support in many issues; one of them is war.

Film made by BBC ‘War Spin’(2003) shows very well how US Department of Defence used public communications to maintain certain image of American and British troops and actions they were taking in Iraq. The ‘tool’ that made creation of that image possible was control of the media and messages sent into the world. I think this is one of the most important things in propaganda, to control the media: radio, TV, papers, online. After all, media are the fourth power and probably everyone heard that saying: “whoever controls the information controls the world.”

27 January 2010

Public Relations of War, part 1

Propaganda and Iraqi War

For most people the thought of going to war is something horrible, something that should be avoided at all costs. It brings pain, death and destruction; and civilians are always the ones who suffer the most. Yet, despite all of this many people either support or accept the fact that their country goes to a war against someone else (there are of course those who oppose such conflicts, yet often they are minority). But why? 

The answer that keeps coming to my mind is: PR and government propaganda. I checked a few pages with information about public support to the Iraqi war. It appears that just before the American-British invasion only 27% of UN citizens opposed to military action in Iraq. The majority of the public believed that Iraq was responsible for the terrorist attacks in America, and after the war began more than 70% of the population within UN supported the invasion (even though the weapon of mass destruction supposedly hidden by Saddam Hussein has never been found).

24 January 2010

Public Relations has many faces

About a week ago I was encouraged to start my own blog, and precisely a blog about public relations. I probably would never dare to write one about the industry on my own, but as I’m trying to enter PR world I can only hope that having a bit questioning and analyzing look at it would be helpful in discovering what this profession is really like. So, here it goes… 

To me PR was always about reputation, persuasion, creativity and changing stereotypes. I was very impressed with Edward Bernays’ successful attempt of breaking “cigarettes taboo” in 1920’s when smoking was reserved only for men, and when no woman dared to smoke publicly. He managed to change society’s opinion in favor of women who were then able to smoke cigarettes wherever they felt like, and moreover, he convinced both sexes that cigarettes actually make females look more attractive. How powerful does this sound?