Pakistan already has at least three more US-based PR firms on its rolls.
New Delhi: With the change in administration in Washington, Pakistan has added one more Public Relation (PR) firm to its repertoire to ensure that its voice and demands reaches the right people in the Capitol Hill. Pakistan already has at least three more US-based PR firms on its rolls.
Earlier this month, the Pakistan government signed a contract with the Washington-based Fenton/Arlook LLC owned by career PR professionals, Ira Arlook and David Fenton. Under the contract, the agency will get $25,000 a month as fees that do not include out of pocket expenses like travel and hosting guests for the work that it will carry out to strengthen Pakistan’s reach in the country.
As per Fenton/Arlook, it will be focusing on creating positive image about Pakistan in the US and global media by providing background material and feedback to journalists, ensuring Opeds in media by influencers and reaching out to the media to inform them of the good work done by the Pakistan government with the goal to improve the diplomatic and economic ties with the US
On behalf of Pakistan, the “Council on Pakistan Relations”, a Washington D.C. based advocacy organization that represents the Pakistan government in the DC, signed the contract.
One of the two founders of Fenton/Arlook is David Fenton, who has been in the PR field since the 1970s.
In 1989, Fenton destroyed the apple industry after he was hired by an organization (NRDC-Natural Resources Defense Council) that used to work on food safety which wanted to convince the people that Alar or Daminozide, a chemical applied on apples to ripen it quickly, was causing cancer.
There was no scientific proof that substantiated these allegations, but Fenton ensured that the message was spread across the people of the country, something which he mentioned in an article that he wrote for a media publication later.
“Our goal was to create so many repetitions of NRDC’s message that the average American consumer (not just the policy elite in Washington) could not avoid hearing it—from many different media outlets within a short period of time. The idea was for the ‘story’ to achieve a life of its own and continue for weeks and months to affect policy and consumer habits.”
In a story done by the Wall Street Journal on this issue, it was revealed that the entire campaign was based on a false premise. In an internal memo later reprinted by the WSJ, Fenton allegedly told his other clients that he designed the campaign so that NRDC could get revenue from the public.
As a result of this campaign, for which actress Meryl Streep was also roped in by Fenton, parents threw away huge quantities of apples and apple juice on the streets and it cost the apple industry about $375 million loss. Alar was removed from the market by its manufacturers. Fenton also counts big environmental groups like Greenpeace, Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund as his clients.
The other partner, Ira Arlook, specializes in labour and human rights, global warming, economic policy, environmental justice and is also a part of New Economy Communications, which he founded in 1998 with former Democratic Congressman Tom Andrews.