You have to wonder what sort of internal debate went on in APCO before they decided to take on the job. Here’s Unspun‘s totally fictitious and facetious account of what might have been:
APCO Dove: I don’t think we should take the job as there’s nothing we can do to change them, and if we can’t change them then there’s no way to make them look good.
APCO Hawk: Of course we should take it. The money is good and it will give a big boost to our reputation in that part of the world where we haven’t been able to make as much headway as in the US.It may even make people forget that we’re closing down…I mean scaling down…in Indonesia.
Dove: Yes, but what sort of a reputation will we have if we take this job? Najib and his goons are just in plain denial. No amount of spin we put into this will be effective unless we convince them to change their ways.
Hawk: It doesn’t matter. Think of the money we’ll get. And the opportunities it will create for us. We’ll be plugged in to all the important people in Malaysia from No.1 down. And by the time they realize that the PR is ineffective, we’ll have made our money anyway.
Dove: I’m still uneasy about all this. I’m worried our own reputation would suffer if we take them on….
Hawk: Dove, Dove have courage son. We’re like lawyers who take the view that even the worst criminal deserves a good defense. We’re here merely to tell their story in a good light.
Dove: But there is nothing to tell. There are not good stories to tell because Najib and his boys are morally and intellectually bankrupt…
Hawk: You are too pessimistic. At the end of the day the fees will go toward our bonuses and nobody will remember our sins. Look at Burson Marsteller for instance, until that bitch Rachel Maddow tagged them with the “When Evil needs public relations, Evil has Burson-Marsteller on speed-dial” soundbite everyone had already forgotten all the hopeless causes they championed…and got away with. people never learn from history. That’s our saving grace.