Pentagon offers testament to PR oversight

It takes a unique blend of ignorance, idiocy, and privilege to criticize troops in a war zone for not always acting in accordance with the delicate laws of PR.

It takes a unique blend of ignorance, idiocy, and privilege to criticize troops in a war zone for not always acting in accordance with the delicate laws of PR.

Unfortunately, it's precisely those characteristics that seem to inspire people to take up blogging.

A handful of these homebound pundits (Americablog and Nick Denton's Wonkette among them) were in their shoeless glory on Sunday after discovering a tiny, but extremely un-PC name written in white tape across the gun of a US tank in Iraq: "New Testament."

The image was unfortunate enough, but making matters worse was where the bloggers found it: on an official Department of Defense website - complete with an inscription matter-of-factly referring to the tank by it's sticky nickname.

The incident naturally called to mind other US comparisons of the War on Terror to the Crusades, most notably President Bush's 2001 comparison of the War on Terror to a "crusade."

Wonkette went snarky rather than snooty ("Luckily, the war is all about oil"), while Americablog treated it like a veritable smoking gun. But can you blame them? This is why Satan made bloggers (and Nick Denton) to begin with.

It's hard to blame the troops, either. What's curious is why the Pentagon's PR folks didn't see this coming. After all, it's easy to joke about "Military PR" being an oxymoron, but no PR firm in America puts as much time and effort into training its people. You'd think they would have known a picture like that on an official US website would get picked up and passed around like a soggy Koran.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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