THE LAST THREE FEET
“It has always seemed to me the real art in this business is not so
much moving information five or ten thousand miles. That is an
electronic problem. The real art is to move it the last three feet in
—Edward R. Murrow
BY THE BEGINNING OF 2006, KEITH REINHARD HAD PROMOTED Business for Diplomatic Action by appearing on everything from the BBC to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on the Comedy Central cable network. It had taken him ten years to break into advertising and now, at age 71, it looked as if it would take him at least that long to get the right people to do something about America’s declining reputation around the world.
The average American was still oblivious to the issue, but American business leaders were beginning to pay more attention. Executives from Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and Weyerhaeuser joined McDonald’s on the board of Business for Diplomatic Action. Other major companies were considering membership. And a trip Reinhard took to Dubai had drummed up interest in an internship program for young Arab business students in American companies. The program would start small, focusing on well-vetted individuals who admittedly might have won positions on their own; even so, the path to engaging Arab youth “in the street” was getting clearer. Reinhard’s vision of “outrecruiting bin Laden” might not be a pipedream, after all.
Following a media analysis of newspaper editorials published