Archive for the ‘image’ Category

American Media and Culture Go Global; Even As America’s Image Sours

December 1, 2008

Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, a delegation of high-level media executives, including the heads of every major studio, met several times with White House officials, including at least once with President Bush’s former top strategist, Karl Rove, to discuss ways that the entertainment industry could play a part in improving the image of the United States overseas.

By Tim Arango
The New York Times
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One of the central ideas was using “soft power” by spreading American television and movies to foreign audiences, especially in the Muslim world, to help sway public opinion.

There were few tangible results from the meetings — lesser ways of supporting the war on terrorism like public service announcements and packages of free DVDs sent to American soldiers.

But since then, the media companies have gotten what they wanted, even if the White House has not. In the last eight years, American pop culture, already popular, has boomed around the globe while opinions of America itself have soured.

The television program “CSI” is now more popular in France than in the United States. Hollywood movies routinely sell far more tickets overseas than at home. A Russian remake of the TV show “Married With Children” has been so popular that Sony, the producer of the show, has hired back the original writers to produce new scripts for Russia. Even in the Muslim world, American pop culture has spread.

But so far, cultural popularity has not translated into new friends. The latest data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, released in June, shows that the image of the United States remained negative in the 24 countries in which Pew conducted surveys (although in 10 of those the favorability rating of the United States edged up slightly).

Joseph S. Nye Jr., the Harvard professor who coined the phrase “soft power” in 1989 to refer to the ways beyond military muscle that America influences the world, said that “what’s interesting about the last eight years is that polls show a decline in American attractiveness.”

He added: “But then you ask the follow-up questions and you see that American culture remains attractive, that American values remain attractive. Which is the opposite of what the president has said — that they hate us for who we are and what we believe in.”

Jeffrey Schlesinger, the head of international television at Warner Brothers, had a simpler explanation for the popularity of American entertainment.

“Batman is Batman, regardless….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/business/media/01soft.html?_r=1&hp

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Angelina Jolie’s Carefully Orchestrated (And Paid For) Image

November 21, 2008

When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt negotiated with People and other celebrity magazines this summer for photos of their newborn twins and an interview, the stars were seeking more than the estimated $14 million they received from the deal. They also wanted a hefty slice of journalistic input — a promise that the winning magazine’s coverage would be positive, not merely in that instance but into the future.

According to the deal offered by Ms. Jolie, the winning magazine was obliged to offer coverage that would not reflect negatively on her or her family, according to two people with knowledge of the bidding who were granted anonymity because the talks were confidential. The deal also asked for an “editorial plan” providing a road map of the layout, these people say.

The winner was People. The resulting package in its Aug. 18 issue — the magazine’s best-selling in seven years — was a publicity coup for Ms. Jolie, the Oscar winner and former Hollywood eccentric who wore a necklace ornamented with dried blood and talked about her fondness for knives before transforming herself into a philanthropist, United Nations good-will ambassador and devoted mother of six.

In the People interview, there were questions about her and Mr. Pitt’s charity work and no use of the word “Brangelina,” the tabloid amalgamation of their names, which irks the couple.

Through a spokeswoman, People magazine, which is owned by Time Inc., released a statement denying that any conditions were placed on coverage. “These claims are categorically false,” the statement said. “Like any news organization, People does purchase photos, but the magazine does not determine editorial content based on the demands of outside parties.”

While all celebrities seek to manipulate their public images to one degree or another, Ms. Jolie accomplishes it with a determination, a self-reliance and a degree of success that is particularly notable. The actress does not employ a publicist or an agent. The keys to her public image belong to her alone, although she does rely on her longtime manager, Geyer Kosinski, as a conduit.

Jennifer Lopez, who sold pictures of her twins to People for an estimated $6 million in February, has a team of eight to help her navigate such situations. Ms. Jolie, 33, has her cellphone, a lawyer and Mr. Kosinski (and, of course, the counsel of her partner, Mr. Pitt). Getty Images handled the photography and some negotiations.

Read the rset:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/business/
media/21angelina.html?_r=1&hp

Tease? Team Obama Gives Debate “Talking Points” To Media; What Will McCain Do?

October 15, 2008

Final preparations are made at the presidential debate site ... 
Final preparations are made at the presidential debate site at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. John McCain, needing a dramatic turnaround to his waning White House hopes, vowed to unmask his rival Barack Obama as a radical sympathizer at their third and final debate in New York Wednesday.(AFP/Getty Images/Win Mcnamee)

Politico

The Obama campaign is trying to raise the stakes for McCain by stressing that the debate may be his last chance to turn the race around, and to raise the expectation that he’ll attack.

“This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn’t disqualify him from being President,” say the talking points.

And they’re continuing to drive the “erratic” message.

“John McCain has been erratic and unsteady since this crisis began — staggering from position to position and trying to change the subject away from the economy by launching false character attacks,” says the document, which is essentially a more deadpan version of Bill Burton’s pre-debate memo.

Full talking points after the jump.

Talking Points

· This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn’t disqualify him from being President.

· Just this weekend the weekend, John McCain vowed to “whip Obama’s you-know-what” at the debate, and he’s indicated that he’ll be bringing up Bill Ayers to try to distract voters.

· So we know that Senator McCain will come ready to attack

Barack Obama….
Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081015/pl_politico/23794_1
Related:
Obama Says He Really Does Believe In “Income and Wealth Redistribution”
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Just one troubling quandry for John McCain….

 

Mike Allen
Politico

John McCain is at odds with many of his top advisers over launching a renewed attack on Barack Obama‘s ties to his long-time pastor and mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, according to campaign sources.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and several top campaign officials see a sharp attack on Wright as the best — and perhaps last — chance to rattle Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill. ) and force voters to rethink their support of him. But McCain continues to overrule them, fearing a Wright attack would smack of desperation and racism, the officials said.

With McCain unlikely to budge, GOP officials are hoping groups outside of the campaign will finance an ad attack on Obama-Wright ties. It is unclear if any conservative group has the cash to bankroll a serious effort, however.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ...
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., makes a campaign stop at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Wright is off the table,” said one top campaign official. “It’s all McCain. He won’t go there. His advisers would have gone there.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081015/pl_politico/14587;_ylt=AkPRWw2LJ5790c.O3kohb_Os0NUE

Related:
Barack Obama’s Famous Friends, Associates: Hate Speech, Crimes, Fraud Incorporated
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WASHINGTON (CNN) — GOP Sen. John McCain must clearly differentiate his plan to fix the ailing economy from that of his rival Sen. Barack Obama at Wednesday night’s presidential debate if he is to shake up the race, political analysts said.

“I think what he has to to do is talk about the issues. … He’s got to talk about his economic plan,” CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger said. “Yes, he’s got to convince voters that he’s got the judgment to be president, but he’s also got to convince voters to like him.”

Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain sparred about domestic policy during their second presidential debate.

Above: Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain sparred about domestic
policy during their second presidential debate.

The third and final debate, taking place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, at 9 p.m. ET, may be the last time the Republican presidential candidate may be able turn the race to his favor before Election Day, now less than three weeks away.

The 90-minute face-off, which will air on CNN and CNN.com, will undoubtedly focus on the economic crisis plaguing the country.

CNN political editor Mark Preston said the debate will likely be McCain’s “last chance to reach tens of millions of people with his vision for America.”

“He needs a game-changer,” Preston said.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/15/presidential.debate/index.html?section=cnn_latest
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By CHRISTOPHER WILLS, Associated Press Writer

TOLEDO, Ohio – Republican John McCain is looking to turnaround his fortunes in the final presidential debate with Democrat Barack Obama, a forum focused on pocketbook issues and domestic policy Wednesday night.

Both candidates released proposals this week designed to boost the economy as financial institutions wobble and voters feel the pinch of a faltering economy. The debate is at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., with the candidates seated at a table with moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS.

With the economic crisis fueling public unease, Obama has built leads nationally and in key states as the turmoil has returned the nation’s focus to the policies of the unpopular President Bush. The burden now is on McCain to try to reverse his slide.

To that end, the Arizona senator took a new approach this week, positioning himself as a fighter for the American middle class and easing off his most direct attacks on Obama, an Illinois senator. McCain also took pains to separate himself from Bush.

“We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. … As president I intend to act, quickly and decisively,” McCain said Tuesday in battleground Pennsylvania.

He announced a $52.5 billion economic plan Tuesday that calls for halving the tax rate on capital gains and reducing the tax on withdrawals from retirement accounts, among other measures. A day earlier, Obama unveiled a $60 billion proposal that includes an extension of unemployment benefits, a 90-day freeze on home foreclosures, penalty-free withdrawals from retirement funds and a $3,000 tax credit for each new job.

Both candidates call for doing away with the tax on unemployment benefits.
McCain has suggested that he is likely to bring up Obama’s links to William Ayers, a radical during the Vietnam War era. Ayers was a member of the violent Weather Underground group but later became a university professor in Chicago and an expert on education. He and Obama both worked with some of the same charity foundations in Chicago, and Ayers hosted a reception for Obama when he first ran for the Illinois state Senate.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081015/ap_on_el_pr/presi
dential_debate;_ylt=Ani.AQbuYEOmHVlQlchoDwes0NUE

Obama, McCain seek leader’s image in final debate

October 14, 2008

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama and John McCain will both pursue the image of a strong leader in troublesome economic times as they meet Wednesday night for their third and final presidential debate.

US Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) ... 
US Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L) greets US Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the end of their second presidential debate with at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee October 7, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Their face-off comes as Obama widens his lead in typically Democratic states and campaigns with an air of optimism about his prospects, while McCain seeks a way to gain ground and finds himself defending traditionally Republican states with less than three weeks left in the race.

“We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. … As president I intend to act, quickly and decisively,” McCain said Tuesday in battleground Pennsylvania. There, he unveiled new economic proposals and previewed a possible debate strategy: argue that he would be different from Bush and better than Obama.

One day earlier in swing state Ohio, Obama outlined his own economic plan and showed off his own pitch. He suggested that McCain was more of the same and that putting a Democrat in charge was the only way to fix the economy’s woes: “It will take a new direction. It will take new leadership in Washington. It will take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years.”
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081014/ap_on_el_pr/
debate_stakes;_ylt=Aht3q0GBCdpkGo5K7pgZfr2s0NUE

Russia Spends Big To Burnish Image Abroad

March 6, 2008

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, March 6, 2008; Page A01

MOSCOW — In early 2004, when Svetlana Mironyuk became director general of the Russian news and information agency RIA Novosti, she discovered that the descendant of the Soviet Union‘s global propaganda machine was dying on its feet.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин
Vladimir Putin

Some of its writers were still using typewriters from communist days. The agency was publishing just one English-language newspaper, Sputnik, which was supposedly sold in Britain, although Mironyuk said she could find no evidence of that. Travel agents and dentists had moved into RIA’s stolid Moscow headquarters building.

“It was a desperate situation,” she said.

No more. The agency’s newly refurbished offices include a high-tech newsroom, complete with flat screens and a circular news desk, where 300 journalists disseminate a multimedia package of news to an international audience every day.

 Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/05/AR2008030503539.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Close Guantanamo

January 14, 2008

By Robert Burns, AP Military Writer

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The chief of the U.S. military said Sunday he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been “pretty damaging” to the image of the United States.

Michael G. Mullen
Michael Mullen

“I’d like to see it shut down,” Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.

His visit came two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison’s opening in January 2002. He stressed that a closure decision was not his….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080114/ap_on_go_
ca_st_pe/guantanamo_joint_chiefs;_ylt=AtD1g0
MHBKyvDAc.eVMs_F2s0NUE