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The Weirdest Saudi Propaganda Effort Yet

Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner, and his wife, Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump,at the Murabba Palace with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Spencer Ackerman reports on the weird Saudi propaganda being sent out to grocery stores all over the country by the publishers of the The National Enquirer:

The New Kingdom doesn’t feature any salacious gossip about MBS, but its coverage is just as breathless. “Our Closest Middle East Ally Destroying Terrorism,” the cover coos, sidestepping decades of Saudi Arabian financial support for terrorist groups and ideologues. It Disneyfies Saudi Arabia as “the Magic Kingdom.” It’s easily the most uncritical encomium to MBS since Thomas Friedman.

The publisher claims that it received no outside support or direction to produce this rag, but that is laughable. No publisher is going to produce a glossy magazine extolling the virtues of Saudi despotism on its own and then release it just in time to coincide with the American tour of the heir to the throne. It must have been coordinated with lobbying organizations working on behalf of the Saudis or in concert with hawkish organizations that want a closer U.S.-Saudi relationship or some combination of the two. It is fitting that the same people that produce checkout line tabloids are putting out pro-Saudi propaganda. The contents of both are equally credible and have just as much connection to reality.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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