The U.S. Public Relations industry is one which is very high profile, but is a tiny, close knit industry, with only perhaps 75 American PR firms having more than 50 employees (i.e. enough scope/influence to represent a foreign government or foreign interests). Over lunch recently, one of my peers, who like me owns one of the 25 largest US PR agencies,
explained why his firm would no longer work with Jewish organizations and pro-Israel concerns. He explained there is simply too much money working for Arab organizations and interests, and between front groups, organizations and projects, from a business perspective, he was no longer working for pro-Israel or Jewish organizations. It’s a trend which will grow – and will see Arab interests even more positively portrayed in American media.
In the latest news, Bahrain in the last 12 months has hired at least ten public relations companies since last year. Yes, you read it right – ten – including Qorvis, the Washington company hired by Saudi Arabia to salvage that kingdom’s reputation abroad after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The regime of Bahrain, which tortures its own citizens, has an awful human rights record and doesn’t recognize the existence of Israel, also hired Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, and Sanitas International, whose partner Christopher Harvin is a former Bush White House aide.