The Failed Public Relations Campaign of Bashar al Assad's Family
The Atlantic Wire
The Failed Public Relations Campaign of Bashar al Assad's Family. Instagram/Vogue/Reuters. Tweet · Share; Print article; Email article; Comments.
|Scooped by Andrew Hagan|
The recent chemical attacks by the Syrian government are suspected to be the cause of the untimely deaths of 1,429 Syrian civilians. At this crucial point, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s main focus should be to convince the world that the Syrian government will take the use of chemical weapons for civilian death seriously and take action against those accountable for the use of chemical weapons .However, recent media actions from Assad’s family paints a different picture of the leadership of Syria.
The article explains that Assad’s son, Hafez, reportedly posted a Facebook status days after Syria’s chemical attack daring the United States to attack Syria. The 11 year old boy rants that “while the United States may be stronger than Syria, the U.S. does not know what Syria has and is capable of.” Assads’s son’s act of leaking information and telling the U.S. to “bring it on” shows that the people closest to Assad do not show any remorse for the deaths of their own civilians. Assad’s wife, Asma, on the other hand, has been trying to repair the image of the Assads. Asma has been featured in photos on instagram and other social media sites volunteering at a soup kitchen and has been spotted in past magazine articles promoting humanitarian aid. However, due to the lack of self-awareness and responsibility regarding Syria’s chemical attacks, the public is not buying the Assad’s family “caring” image and fear that the Syrian President may be “out of touch” with his people.
Our textbook dedicates a whole chapter to crisis communication in the public view. The Assad family’s leadership image presented to not only the Syrian people but also to the rest of the world has evolved into the acute crisis stage (pg. 298) as it should have due to the atrocities brought on by Syrian officials. Gunth and Marsh point out that in the acute crisis stage, an image can reach “the point of no return” and the public will recognize the onset of the crisis. While brands can reach a crisis resolution stage where the situation can return back to “normal” (298), a severe negative public image of a leader can lead to a different kind of “normal” where the leader can be viewed as an oppressor of the people.
A key consideration that Gunth and Marsh point out in communicating a crisis is that “actions speak louder than words” (300). Credibility is a very important concept in crisis communication. Failure to do so will lead to a lack of trust. In a case as serious as genocide, the Assad image may never reach a positive resolution phase where the public can forgivingly “move on.” The lack of remorse for the horrendous deaths of his countrymen damages the public image of Assad’s regime and he will always be remembered for the use of chemical weapons.