things continue to fall apart

M. Junaid Alam redjaguar at attbi.com
Mon Mar 3 22:20:00 MST 2003


An admittedly tough product to push.
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Bush's Arab and Muslim propaganda chief quits
U.S. official: 'She didn't do anything that worked'
Tuesday, March 4, 2003 Posted: 0113 GMT ( 9:13 AM HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The mastermind of U.S. public diplomacy efforts in
the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 resigned from
her State Department post Monday.

Charlotte Beers, a former top advertising executive who joined the
department shortly after September 11, is leaving shortly "for health
reasons," Secretary of State Colin Powell said in a written statement.

Another U.S. official told CNN that her departure was connected to
problems she encountered in the job.

Beers, 67, took office to spearhead a public diplomacy campaign aimed at
winning the hearts and minds of the Arab and Muslim world. But she
attracted little praise for her efforts, and was attacked in the media
and by various think tanks and members of Congress.

Privately, U.S. officials also complained that though Beers spent a lot
of money on slickly produced media ads, she did not understand her
target audience: Arab and Muslim-majority countries where anti-American
sentiment runs high.

"She was failing," the official said. "She didn't do anything that
worked."

Beers, whose title was undersecretary of state for public diplomacy,
acknowledged to a Senate committee Thursday that her task was daunting,
The Associated Press reported.

"The gap between who we are and how we wish to be seen, and how we are
in fact seen, is frighteningly wide," Beers told a Senate Foreign
Relations Committee hearing.

Beers' "Shared Values" campaign -- television ads portraying
Muslim-Americans in their daily life -- was criticized in the few
countries it was introduced. The series was eventually suspended when
several Arab countries refused to broadcast the ads.

"The administration waited until the fallout from the Shared Values
campaign ended," the official said, citing several critical media
reports about Beers. "But we have been looking for an honorable exit for
her for some time."

The official said the White House, which has established its Office of
Global Communications to distribute U.S. propaganda as the United States
readies for a possible war with Iraq, "has been distancing itself from
Charlotte since day one."

According to her State Department biography, Beers was the only person
to serve as chairman of two of the top 10 worldwide advertising
agencies: J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather.

Beers' resignation will take effect in about two weeks. Patricia
Harrison, assistant secretary of state for education and cultural
affairs, will temporarily fill Beers' post, the official said.

Powell, in his written statement, said Beers "brought new energy, new
ideas, and new enthusiasm to our interaction with the public in America
and throughout the world. ... At a critical and stressful time for our
nation, she and her team sharpened our policy advocacy and took our
values and our ideas to mass audiences in countries which hadn't heard
from us in a concerted way for years. ...

"Her goal of reaching 'younger, broader, and deeper' audiences will
remain with us as she departs."

-- CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this article.


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