WASHINGTON, DC: Former Deputy Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Michael Doubleday has publicly criticized NATO’s PR efforts during the Kosovo conflict, describing them as ’imprecise and inept.’
WASHINGTON, DC: Former Deputy Secretary of Defense for Public
Affairs Michael Doubleday has publicly criticized NATO’s PR efforts
during the Kosovo conflict, describing them as ’imprecise and
Speaking before a PRSA National Capitol Chapter International Committee
forum, the former Pentagon official painted a flawed picture of NATO’s
’It was clear that NATO had not developed an apparatus to address the
many challenges that would come up,’ he said.
While NATO had a public affairs operation, it was not sufficiently large
or adequately staffed to deal with the operation. Problems included an
inability to ’de-conflict’ how Allied nations reported the operations,
and difficulty in rebutting Serbia’s assertions.
The Serbs, Doubleday said, proved surprisingly effective at playing upon
people’s sympathies when Allied precision bombing missed its
But at the same time, they aggressively monitored the media, expelling
50 journalists for reports that were not approved by Serbian
Doubleday said that Allied publicists learned several lessons that might
be applied to future conflicts, the most important being that ’pictures
rule.’ Failure to have pictures, he argued, will make communicating a
story an uphill battle.
To illustrate this, he recalled an incident in which a tractor convoy
was mistakenly blown up, killing up to 20 people. Although at the same
time the Serbs were displacing 200,000 Kosovars, Doubleday noted that
’because of the pictures, the story became the people killed in the