Rooney: The Big Sell

Get The U.S. Some Good Press

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:


It's been satisfying to know we're bombing the hell out of the Taliban. WE all like that. I remember though, how pleased we were in 1993 when the Pentagon showed us pictures of our bombs dropping on Iraq. We were going to bomb Saddam Hussein into oblivion. Well, that didn't happen, did it? We made more enemies than we eliminated.

It's probably possible for us to take out the Taliban government with bombs but then we have to win over a lot of people who hate us.

We do a lot of things well in this Country but there's nothing we do better than sell stuff. Advertising sells us cars, clothes, pills, breakfast cereals, everything.

Right now we ought to be trying to sell America not cigarettes to the rest of the world - convince them that we're the good guys, not the bad guys.

Maybe we ought to turn the job over to our advertising agencies instead of the Army. Why don't we try to win them over with words? We have the Voice of America doing a good job with the truth, but the bombs we've dropped on Afghanistan in just a few days have cost more than the Voice of America gets in a year.

President Bush appointed Tom Ridge as director of Homeland Security. How would it be if he appointed another director in charge of selling America to the people of the Middle East who hate us. This person would mobilize our advertising industry to do the job.

We have a great product. We don't have anything to hide. We aren't trying to take over any other Country. We aren't trying to push any religion on them. We're a little selfish and too pleased with ourselves sometimes but advertisers know how to hide the bad stuff and anyway we're decent, peaceful and generous people. Not only that we're genuinely concerned about the whole world. We dont want to see anyone starving, dying of disease or getting killed. The rest of the world ought to know that and they don't.

We could put the money we're spending on bombs into radio and television advertising. Inundate those countries with positive information about the United States. Drop good stuff on them.. not just leaflets but radios, Hershey Bars, sunglasses, new prayer rugs maybe, whatever they need. Drop a few million Yankee caps to keep the sun out of their eyes.

But I mean, do good things for them. Make them love us, not hate us.

It seems to that me our advertising experts ought to be able to sell us. We're really awfully nice people.


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