Saudi Arabia has reportedly been investing millions into PR campaigns to change the West's perception of the Kingdom.
- A major US publisher with links to President Donald Trump has released a nearly 100-page magazine devoted exclusively to praising Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
- The magazine has been popping up at retailer across the US, and seems to be part of a reported multi-million-dollar global PR campaign to change the West's perception of the Middle East country.
- The magazine coincides with the crown prince's two week visit to the US.
A major US publisher with links to President Donald Trump has released a nearly 100-page magazine devoted exclusively to praising Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
According to The Daily Beast, 200,000 copies of the title are available at major US retailers including Walmart and Safeway, and seems to be part of a reported million-dollar global PR campaign to change the West's perception of the Middle East nation.
American Media Inc. (AMI), which publishes popular US tabloids "The National Enquirer" and "US Weekly", is behind the glossy publication. The CEO of AMI, David J. Pecker, has said he is a close friend of Trump's and reportedly admitted to killing stories about the future president.
The media giant claims it received no editorial or financial backing for the glorified portrayal of Saudi Arabia and the crown prince, despite the magazine appearing to lack the ads that would normally cover costs.
"Publishing this Special Interest Publication was a business decision made by AMI in an effort to capitalize on a topical and timely event,” a spokesperson for AMI stated, according to the Middle East Eye. "AMI saw this as a unique opportunity to capitalize on the attention surrounding the Crown Prince’s visit to the US and the growing interest and curiosity in Saudi Arabia."
"AMI's only revenue from this product will come from newsstand sales," he added.
A senior advisor from the Saudi Embassy in Washington tweeted that "neither the embassy nor any other part of the government commissioned this and we don’t know who did. If you find out, we’d love to know."
When asked by a journalist about potential leads, the advisor replied, "No idea. We are genuinely curious."
The magazine is full of overtly positive coverage of the crown prince and his achievements with a banner across the cover declaring Prince Mohammed, "The most influential Arab leader transforming the world at 32."
The cover also boasts that Saudi Arabia is America's "closest Middle East ally destroying terrorism,” despite accusations that Saudi Arabia financially supported terror groups, like Al-Qaeda.
Saudi Arabia is on a global PR campaign
The Crown Prince this month embarked on a world tour to discuss bilateral ties with several Western powers but, more importantly, to garner positive press coverage for himself and his country.
Before his widely publicized visit to the UK this month, a Saudi consulting firm reportedly invested millions into a media blitz with advertisements praising the Saudi leader popping up on billboards, taxis, trucks, and in newspapers.
The prince discussed investment opportunities and trade deals with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who barely challenged his country's questionable record on human rights, and dined with the Queen and other members of the royal family, resulting in a perfect diplomatic photo-op.
He employed a similar strategy for his US visit.
"60 Minutes" aired an exclusive interview with the royal which has been panned as a "crime against journalism" for lauding his progressive views while lobbing softball questions on Saudi Arabia's poor human rights record.
Trump also met with the crown prince to discuss the country's business dealings, and even brought over-the-top props for the occasion.
During his two week visit to the US, Prince Mohammed was set to also meet with heavy hitters from entertainment and tech giants, including Google, Apple, and Lockheed Martin, as well as Wall Street executives.