I’ve been thinking about the public relations implications of the recent Iranian hostage situation involving British sailors/marines. But Borkowski sums up my thoughts pretty well.
I admire anyone who is prepared to put their life on the line in the services – and cannot imagine the pain of those who have lost friends or family members in Iraq or Afghanistan. Whether or not the cause is just, these people are heroic in their sacrifice.
They have demonstrated true values and a dignity which is totally lacking in those caught up in the current debacle. The press unsurprisingly come out of things pretty poorly, as do those who have taken money to “tell their story”. Then there are the PR advisors (rumours of even Max Clifford) who were undoubtedly involved in framing the version of truth we’ve been spun in the last few days. Plus the in-house PR teams within the services and government, who appear to have given such poor advice.
In propaganda terms, it is hard not to feel that the Iranian approach seems shrewder than the cruder British efforts. The failure is not only measured in analysis of media coverage, but in ways that are more important – such as the reputations of young men and women who are prepared to leave their families not knowing if they will return.
Some things should not be for sale – and public relations has been diminished by its role in this shambles.