May 5, 2003

PASH Honors "Baghdad Bob"

Press Agents Shining Hour this year honors Iraq's former information minister, Mohammed al-Sahhaf, for bravely serving the "client from hell."

New York publicist Milton Riback established Press Agents Shining Hour (PASH) in 1964 "to honor publicists but to do so without taking too much time from the other special events that must be observed in order to keep the fees rolling in."

He proclaimed PASH would be celebrated every May 5th from 3:15 - 4:15 pm, "the slow time," said Riback, "after lunch, when the 'planting' of the next days' stories is done." This was, of course, before the advent of the 24-hour new cycle.

Since Riback's passing in 1999, his son, Eric, has kept PASH alive with a web site and selected this year's honoree.

Al-Sahhaf, nicknamed "Baghdad Bob" by some in the western media, became well known for repeated denials during the war that coalition forces were succeeding. His whereabouts, or possible demise, are unconfirmed.

"Every press agent has had one or more 'clients from hell', but few could compare with Saddam Hussein," said Eric. "Mr. Al-Sahhaf was in an almost impossible situation, as laughable as his comments seemed to us at the time. Publicists and marketers couldn't help but feel some level of kinship with him."

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Read the press release announcing PASH.

See Advertising Age magazine's coverage of PASH.

Get more info on the PASH White House demonstration.

Eric Riback

PASH Home Page