Aug 31, 2006

Pentagon Contract For More Positive Spin On Iraq War Available For Bid

Here is an interesting opportunity for public relations professionals:

U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq.

The contract calls for assembling a database of selected news stories and assessing their tone as part of a program to provide "public relations products" that would improve coverage of the military command's performance, according to a statement of work attached to the proposal.

The request for bids comes at a time when Bush administration officials are publicly criticizing media coverage of the war in Iraq.

The proposal, which calls in part for extensive monitoring and analysis of Iraqi, Middle Eastern and American media, is designed to help the coalition forces understand "the communications environment." Its goal is to "develop communication strategies and tactics, identify opportunities, and execute events . . . to effectively communicate Iraqi government and coalition's goals, and build support among our strategic audiences in achieving these goals," according to the statement of work that is publicly available through the Web site . ...

The proposal calls for monitoring "Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international and U.S. national and regional markets media in both Arabic and English." That includes broadcast and cable television outlets, the Pentagon channel, two wire services and three major U.S. newspapers: The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. ...

The media outlets would be monitored for how they present coalition or anti-Iraqi force operations. That part of the proposal could reflect Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's often-stated concern that the media does not cover positive aspects of Iraq. ...

The proposal suggests a team of 12 to 18 people who would provide support for the coalition military command as well as the Iraqi government leadership.

Prospective contractors are also asked to propose four to eight public relations events per month, such as speeches or news conferences, including "preparation of likely questions and suggested answers, themes and messages as well as background, talking points."

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