Only the Lame and Witless Need Apply

Outstanding analysis of Bush’s latest pick for undersecretary of state for public diplomacy (longtime drink-the-Koolaider Karen Hughes) in a recent Media Week, which I just got around to reading. Before he wowed us with the stunningly bad Bolton nomination, the MSM gave Bush a pass on Hughes, the article said.

‘He’s playing for his place in the history books,’ seemed to be the big theme on the Sunday morning talk shows.

If his place in the history books is “most self-delusional president,” then those pundits are clearly right, because the appointment of Hughes proves nothing more than the fact that Bush doesn’t understand diplomacy and never will. For Bush—and for Hughes, who played a major role in both of Bush’s presidential campaigns—diplomacy means staying “on message,” even when that message is being undercut by facts and common sense. That’s a good strategy within the U.S., because our media is so cowed by this administration—and so starved for access to the administration’s key players—that it seems unwilling to seriously challenge anything coming out of the White House, lest that access be withdrawn.

The rest of the world’s media are not so cowed… Somehow, I don’t think the threat that Condi and Rummy won’t come on and do interviews is going to stop Al Jazeera or Al Arabia from running the latest Abu Ghraib photos…

Before it uses advertising and public relations as part of a worldwide diplomacy effort, this administration needs to understand the basic rule of marketing: even the flashiest ads can’t sell a lousy product. In this case, that lousy product is our foreign policy.

True that!


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