Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Cluck and Awe": Ag Dept. Shills for Iraq War

As a PR professional, I'm often amused by the sheer incompetence of the Bush spin machine--can you say "Brownie, you're doing a heckofa job"?--as well as their desire to micromanage everything in a usually failed attempt to make the president look good. (If the Dems don't make much hay over "Mission Accomplished" in 2008, they're really asleep at the switch.)

But this one takes the cake. Or maybe the wheatfield. Or the henhouse. Today's New York times ran an editorial about--are you sitting down?--a Department of Agriculture talking points memo that provided ways to jump from discussions of American crop issues to what a bully good job the administration is doing in Iraq. The paper used the marvelous headline, "An Agriprop Guide to Cluck and Awe."

And watch out, because the bureaucrats are keeping score:

Included was a caution that speechmakers should keep a record of their compliance, and turn in point-scoring summaries to be tallied for weekly reports to the White House.

And what might some of these talking points be?

  • "Iraqi farmers use U.S. aid to buy American feed and are working to 'update 25-year-old chicken houses'"
  • "'Iraq is part of the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia,' where mankind first domesticated wheat thousands of years ago, this suggestion begins. Then it moves to the clincher: 'In recent years, however, the birthplace of farming has been in trouble.'"

    Clearly the see-no-evils are at it again--and I am one copywriter who's real glad I don't work for this agency!


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