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Commentator | Columnist | Radio Host | Speaker

Publication Date: May 1, 2017; U.K.: July 01, 2017

Imprint: Potomac Books

ISBN-13: 978-1-61234-900-8; Price: $32.95; Canadian: $49.50; UK: £26.99

Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq

By Tom Basile with Foreword by Ambassador John R. Bolton

Policy, Politics, and PR in the War Against Extremism

Like the War on Terror, the Media War rages on. More than ever, America’s ability to fight and win against ISIS requires that we understand how best to communicate about war in the digital age.

Tom Basile takes readers behind the scenes during his time as a civilian advisor in Iraq during the Iraq War, describing his mission and the struggle to communicate about the war as it became more deadly and less popular at home.

The U.S.-led coalition wasn’t merely engaged in a fight to build a more tolerant, participatory society against incredible odds. It was also in a constant clash with forces that influenced public perception about the mission.

During those difficult years, it became clear that warfare was now, more than ever, a blend of policy, politics, and the business of journalism.

Basile critiques the media’s reporting and assesses the Bush administration’s home-front communications strategy to argue that if policymakers fail to effectively articulate their strategy, manage their message, and counter misinformation, they will find themselves unable to execute that policy. That, Basile argues, places the United States at great risk. 

Tough Sell blends Basile’s personal story with lessons from the media war in Iraq that can improve our ability to communicate about and prosecute the War on Terror.


High Praise for Tough Sell

Basile’s …thought-provoking book … provides keen insights into what it takes to make strategic communication in war zones a success and into the obstacles to good strategic communication. Tough Sell is highly recommended.
— James P Farwell, for the Army War College, Parameters Magazine
Basile’s perspective will become a classic and help readers understand the dangerous politicizing of foreign policy coverage by today’s media.
— Walid Phares, author of The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid and Fox News national security contributor
Tough Sell is a must-read for students of conflict, practitioners of war, and a public eager to understand what is really at stake as we continue forward in a multi-decade struggle against radical Islamic terror.
— Gary Berntsen, former senior CIA station chief and the New York Times bestselling author of Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda
Tough Sell is an excellent addition to the growing corpus of literature on the Iraq War. This book masterfully blends military history with politics and media studies, thus representing the truly multifaceted nature of warfare in the twenty-first century…
— Benjamin Welton, Foreword Reviews
This fair, honest, and intensely personal story should inform journalists, policymakers, and the public as we make tough decisions in the fight against ISIS.
— Dr. Bob Arnot, New York Times bestselling author and former NBC News foreign correspondent
This candid and engrossing first-person account of communications and media relations in the early days of the occupation in Iraq is full of lessons for ongoing conflicts today.
— Max Angerholzer III, president and CEO, Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress