|April 15, 2008|
|New York Times 'Uncovers' Power of PR; Touts Anti-Torch Group Savvy|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The New York Times today plays up the power of PR in a front page business section report in its “advertising column” of all places [Adland mourns].
The Times heaps praise on the skillful use of PR by pro-Tibetan groups, which are beating China over the head for its heavy-handed policies toward Tibet.
It took Kalaya'an Mendoza, coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet, about five minutes to realize China’s win of the '08 Olympics was a gift from God. The Times reports how the SFT geared up by holding “action camps” leading up to the Nazi-inspired Olympic Torch run, a global media platform for SFT.
The esteemed Richard Funess, president of Ruder Finn, gives SFT a “spectacular” grade on his PR report card. Gene Grabowski, crisis pro at Levick Strategic Communications, told the Times that the Chinese Government’s reliance on tightly controlled messages just doesn’t cut it in today’s world of instant Internet-communications.
In a huge understatement, The Times notes that China “has not mastered the art of the grassroots publicity campaign.” The country may be exploring “American-style PR approaches.”
It would take a gutsy (morally-challenged?) PR firm to buff the image of China, a repressive police state. That "lucky" shop--no doubt--would loom as another juicy target for SFT and allied forces such as the Dream for Darfur activist group.
Hill and Knowlton wants everybody to know that it represents the Beijing Organizing Committee, a group that it says is not empowered to comment on China’s government policy. That is a mighty fine distinction that SFT might find hard to swallow. The Committee, is responsible for the Torch procession, the inspiration of China's PR nightmare.
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