The Banality of Public Relations

by Joshua Foust on 12/6/2011 · 2 comments

Over at The Atlantic, I wrote a piece about the super new news that PR firms sometimes work for sketchy countries.

But it’s easy to misdirect outrage. This lobbying firm appears to have been doing its job — and lobbying firms work for a lot of sketchy groups, not just reporters posing as Uzbek government agents. The real scandal is that a lobbying firm can sell high-level government access to a well-monied client. That the client in this case happens to be an odious regime reviled for its human rights abuses is, in a sense, almost immaterial.

In the U.S., there are lobbyist, public relations, and even law firms for anyone: shady gangsters, evil corporations, corrupt tyrants, churches, NGOs, human rights activists and labor unions, farmers, and whatever else might come along. The effect of these high-powered firms is generally acknowledged but rarely discussed in explicit detail.

More there, as always.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 2 comments }

Don Bacon December 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

The problem in politics is the need to raise campaign money wherever it’s available. Obama made a big deal in the past about lobbyist money but now he takes it like all the rest. And lobbyists are not only selling access, they’re getting tangible returns on their investments, from favorable laws, contracts, etc.

Limonbay December 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I completely agree with you, but the lobbying is not only in the USA, but everywhere. I think the most important is to develop a critical sense among the population so they can distinguish from political propaganda and the stories that are behind.

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