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Prince charm-offensive: MbS ‘propaganda magazine’ hits US shelves Open in fullscreen

Florence Dixon

Prince charm-offensive: MbS ‘propaganda magazine’ hits US shelves

A beaming prince graces the front cover of his own magazine [Twitter]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2018

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In the kingdom's latest bid to woo Westerners during MbS' US tour, the young Saudi leader graces the front cover of his own magazine, dedicated to singing his own praises.
Forget billboard campaigns and Snapchat filters, the Saudi kingdom's latest PR push during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's much-hyped US tour is his own glossy magazine campaign, currently lining the shelves of American supermarket giant Walmart.

After a foray into print advertising during his recent trip to the UK, MbS has gone full propaganda with a full-length publication dedicated to himself.

With its hyperbolic headlines splashed across the front page, the magazine could easily be mistaken for any regular tabloid pedalling questionable celebrity gossip. 

Pictures of the magazine cover were first circulated by journalist Josh Wood, claiming his dad had picked up a copy at a Walmart in "rural New Hampshire."

However this issue, dubbed "The New Kingdom" wants to give lucky readers a glimpse "inside Saudi Arabia", glorifying "Saudi Vision 2030" and extolling the virtues of the revolutionised nation under the leadership of "the most influential Arab leader" who is pretty busy "transforming the world at the 32".

Ostensibly the prince's charm offensive on the West does not stop at $700 billion military trade deals, or even rubbing shoulders with Hollywood and Silicon Valley elites, but as a true man of the people, he aims to capture the hearts and minds of normal, Walmart-going Americans, seducing them with winning slogans such as "Our Closest Ally Destroying Terrorism".

The kingdom's latest effort in its multi-faceted campaign to normalise its authoritarian and war-mongering leader as some kind of "woke", rave-hosting revolutionary is laughable still as women's magazines - of the very type issued by the kingdom - have been banned in Saudi Arabia since 2014.  

Funnier still, as one Twitter user points out, the magazine is published by the National Enquirer – an American tabloid magazine specialised in publishing "fake news", although usually in the form of baseless celebrity rumours.

As an easy target for online ridicule, the publication has attracted its fair share of derision from Twitter users.

"Don’t give Trump any ideas," one user tweeted.

Another, quick to lampoon the notion that any normal American would find the publication credible in the slightest, joked: "'This dynamic young prince sure seems to be disrupting the status quo,' I say as I set my Slim Jims and Four Loko on the checkout belt."

Hopefully the rest of America can see through the strained Saudi PR stunt with similar scepticism.

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