Until recently, Price Floyd was director of media affairs at the State Department. He has now written an op-ed about the difficulties of trying to sell the Bush administration’s policies to the public:
We have eroded not only the good will of the post-9-11 days but also any residual appreciation from the countries we supported during the Cold War. This is due to several actions taken by the Bush administration, including pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol (environment), refusing to take part in the International Criminal Court (rule of law), and pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (arms control). The prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib and the continuing controversy over the detainees in Guantanamo also sullied the image of America.
Collectively, these actions have sent an unequivocal message: The U.S. does not want to be a collaborative partner. That is the policy we have been “selling” through our actions, which speak the loudest of all.
As the director of media affairs at State, this is the conundrum that I faced every day. I tried through the traditional domestic media and, for the first time, through the pan-Arab TV and print media — Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Al Hayat — to reach people in the U.S. and abroad and to convince them that we should not be judged by our actions, only our words. [...]
We need a president who will enable the U.S. to return to its rightful place as the “beacon on a hill” — a country that others want to emulate, not hate; a country that proves through words and deeds that it is free, not afraid.