Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 27

COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES wide distribution through mosques and then to the universities.23 In the winter of 1978, the shah ordered the editors of the major Iranian newspapers to publish editorials accusing the now-popular Khomeini of slander and of being a colonialist.24 Instead of tarnishing Khomeini in the eyes of the public, these editorials had the opposite effect by burnishing his reputation and advancing his message, while angering the population and prompting a massive protest by theology students in the holy city of Qom on 9 January 1978, which was met by police brutality. At least six people were killed and forty-five injured.25 In the meantime, Iranian journalists went on strike, demanding freedom of expression.26 The walkout shut down news production, leaving telephone service as a primary way to obtain news from outside Iran. Eventually, several foreign radio stations began to relay opposition messages into Iran. One popular radio station was the 1.0 Correlation 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 Vertical media sources Horizontal media sources 2008 Independents 2008 Democrats 2012 Republicans 2012 Democrats Persian Language British Broadcasting Corporation World Service (currently known as BBC Persian).27 By 1979, the shah’s formerly dominant agenda had reached the nadir of its influence; it gave way to an alternative agenda, that of Khomeini. As the shah’s power declined, Khomeini’s rose. If researchers could have measured the correlational agreement between the messages of shah’s government and the views of the general public, they probably would have seen data similar to these: prior to 1978, the agreement would have been about .80; in 1978, it would have been about .50; and in early 1979, it would have plummeted to about .20 (see examples 1 through 3 in figure 4). In principle, what happened in Iran could happen anywhere, when the influence of the media preferred by leaders declines, and the influence of the media preferred by audiences increases. At the same time, leaders lose their influence partly because of their ineffective media strategies. New leaders who adapt to the media habits of their followers arise—and the cycle of change starts over. Ironically, in more recent times, to attract military recruits, Iranian marines have recently sponsored and participated in a music video made by a once-underground musician. When asked what the rationale was for using formerly banned musicians as a recruitment tool, a high-ranking officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said, “We have to learn to speak the language of youth Personal history and and use their codes.”28 preferences 2008 Republicans Figure 6. Agenda Community Attraction Scores for Party Voters in Two Elections MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 Recommendations for Army Leaders Responsible leaders prefer evolution to revolution—military leaders included. In a way, the correlational agreement among traditional, vertical media, and agenda-setting input from other sources 25