Thursday, October 2, 2014

September 21-October 1



"There's a lot of sex in these stories; have you had any?"

--Writer Toni Morrison, commenting on chick-lit "Good in Bed" author Jennifer Weiner's early work; cited in Princeton Alumni Weekly, Sept 17, 2004, p. 28; Morrison image from

SCHOLARLY RESOURCE

Issue #71 Bruce Gregory's Resources on Diplomacy's Public Dimension September 05, 2014

FORUM

Countering ISIS Messages Topic of October Monday Forum - pdaa.publicdiplomacy.org: "Journalists will discuss ways of combating messaging by ISIS at the next USC Annenberg Center 'first Monday' forum, hosted by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and the Public Diplomacy Council.


Featured speakers are Shameem Rassam, Executive Producer, Alhurra Iraq and Davin Hutchins, Director of Digital Content, Middle East Broadcasting Networks. The event takes place on Monday, 6 October at the American Foreign Service Association, 2101 E Street NW in Washington DC (Foggy Bottom Metro) and starts at 12 noon. Sandwiches and refreshments will be served. Admission is free, but advance reservations by e-mail are required to FirstMondayForum [dot] RSVP [at] gmail [dot] com."

CALL FOR PAPERS 

Call for Paper – Popular Geopolitics in Russia and Post-Soviet Eastern Europe - armscoop.com: "Popular geopolitics in Russia and post-Soviet Eastern Europe [:] A two-day research workshop hosted by University College London 19–20 February 2015 [.]


This workshop is intended to advance research into the societal or ‘popular’ dimension of geopolitics in Russia and post-Soviet Eastern Europe. Participants are invited to tackle the following interrelated questions [including]: ... How are geopolitical narratives sustained and/or challenged by domestic and transnational media, popular culture, government policies (including education and public diplomacy) and processes outside state control (such as travel and increasing internet use)?" Uncaptioned image from entry

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN THE NEWS

US Vividly Rebuts Islamic State Propaganda on Arab Social Media - Brian Knowlton, The New York Times, ndtv.com: "Along with its surprising military success, the Islamic State group has demonstrated a skill and sophistication with social media previously unseen in extremist groups. And just as the United States has begun an aggressive air campaign against the militants, Richard A. Stengel, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, believes the United States has no choice but to counter the propaganda with a forceful online response. 'Sending a jazz trio to Budapest is not really what we want to do in 2014,'


said Stengel, referring to the soft-edged cultural diplomacy that sent musicians like Dave Brubeck on tours of Eastern-bloc capitals to counter communism during the Cold War. 'We have to be tougher, we have to be harder, particularly in the information space, and we have to hit back.'


The State Department division that Stengel heads has tried a range of approaches for engaging with the Middle East since 9/11, from slick, Madison Avenue-style ads to traditional international-visitors and exchange programs. But now, digital operators at the State Department are directly engaging young people - and sometimes jihadis - on websites popular in Arab countries, publishing a stream of anti-Islamic State messages, and one somewhat shocking video, on Facebook or YouTube or Twitter, using the hashtag #ThinkAgainTurnAway. Critics have questioned whether this effort is large, nimble or credible enough. The United States' image in the Middle East - which seemed perched on the verge of hopefulness when President Barack Obama delivered a closely watched speech in Cairo in 2009 - is now at 'the bottom of a sliding scale,' said Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, in Beirut. Stengel, who joined the Obama administration in February after seven years as managing editor of Time magazine, is focusing his efforts on an approach that reflects Obama's insistence that countries like Iraq must take responsibility for their own defense. While Secretary of State John Kerry was assembling a military coalition against Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, on his most recent trip to the Mideast, Stengel met with Arab officials to create what he called in an interview 'a communications coalition, a messaging coalition, to complement what's going on the ground.' The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication is the State Department's spearhead in this fight and potentially defines the kind of pushback it would like to see friendly countries in the region engage in. Formed in 2010 to counter messaging from al-Qaida and its affiliated groups, the interagency unit engages in online forums in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi and Somali. It recently added English, making itself more transparent - and more open to critical scrutiny. Posting on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Facebook, members of the unit question claims made by Islamic State, trumpet the militants' setbacks and underscore the human cost of the militants' brutality. Terror groups in Somalia and Nigeria are also targeted. ... The communication center's unofficial motto - 'Contest the Space' - seemed to draw a high-level endorsement Wednesday when Obama, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, said the fight against extremism meant 'contesting the space that terrorists occupy - including the Internet and social media.' With the State Department plunging deeper into the digital world, its Twitter accounts had nearly 2 million followers worldwide by last year, its Arab-language Twitter feed more than 200,000, and some ambassadors


had Facebook followings in the tens of thousands. ... Yet, the US digital effort led by the center has its limits. Of the more than 3,100 employees who answer to Stengel, only about 50 work for the counterterrorism communications center. ... At one point recently, no tweets had gone out from 'Think Again Turn Away' for 19 hours, even as jihadis generated a constant flow. William A. Rugh, a former US ambassador to both Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, recounts that one US ambassador in an Asian capital had a popular Twitter account but needed four people to help him: one to clear content (which means delays), two to prepare the English and local-language versions of tweets, and another as webmaster. 'Social media is a blessing and a curse,' said Rugh, author of the recent book 'Front Line Public Diplomacy.' ... And Bruce Gregory, a former director of the Public Diplomacy Institute at Georgetown University [sic] , said that there were 'huge questions about how diplomatic actors representing the public interest engage in social media platforms with people in civil society who don't have those constraints.' Still, some observers contend that US digital diplomacy is learning its lessons, and gaining adherents and momentum. 'Digital is definitely seen as one of the real US strengths' of recent years, said Jan Melissen of the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, who has written extensively on public diplomacy. The impact of public diplomacy initiatives is nearly impossible to measure, specialists say. But one 2006 study of 394 students across the Middle East who listened to US-sponsored Radio Sawa or watched al-Hurrah television found that their views of US policy actually worsened slightly the longer they listened. ... Stengel conceded that his department's programs were 'not without risk.' The center, he said, has no choice but to operate in 'a difficult, alarming, disturbing space.' As to how to gauge success, Stengel said, 'One thing you can't measure is, if you do prevent one young man from joining ISIL who would've otherwise massacred a thousand people, what is the value of that? You can't calculate that. You can't overestimate it.'" Top image from;|middle image from; below image from entry, with caption: A member of Islamic State group waves a flag in Iraq

GRANDMA and GRANDPA CLINTON: It’s a girl! -- 20 YEARS AGO TODAY: Republicans unveil ‘Contract with America’ – B’DAYS [scroll down link for item]: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jeff Birnbaum - politico.com: "RICK STENGEL featured on N.Y. Times p. A4, 'Digital War Takes Shape on Websites Over ISIS,' by Brian Knowlton: “[J]ust as the United States has begun an aggressive air campaign against the militants, Richard A. Stengel, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy, believes the United States has no choice but to counter their propaganda with a forceful online response. ‘Sending a jazz trio to Budapest is not really


what we want to do in 2014,’ said Mr. Stengel, referring to the soft-edged cultural diplomacy ... during the Cold War. ‘We have to be tougher, we have to be harder, particularly in the information space, and we have to hit back.’" See also (1); image from

U.S. Launches Media Campaign To Counter ISIS Videos - npr.org: "The Islamic State is posting graphic violent images on social media to recruit fighters. NPR's Wade Goodwyn speaks with the State Department's Alberto Fernandez about the U.S.'s aggressive response. Goodwyn ... I spoke to Alberto Fernandez. He is the coordinator of the State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.


I asked him about the messages they are sending. ... Fernandez: [W]e believe that it's important to contest the space. And if that means getting down in the dirt and getting down in the mud with them, we believe that that's important to do. I mean, what we don't do is we don't lie, and we don't insult people. I mean, we don't use, you know, insulting language, vulgar language. But beyond that, all bets are off." Image from

War of Words: Is Obama Losing the ISIS Propaganda Battle? - Tony Dokoupil, nbc.news.com: "While the Pentagon clearly speaks 'the language of force,' as President Obama called it in a United Nations speech Wednesday, it has yet to master the subtler language of propaganda, public affairs and counter terrorism experts say. In fact, as the conflict settles into a longer war, some say the Obama administration is losing the parallel battle of words, images and digital media. 'ISIS is ahead of us,' said William McCants, a former State Department senior adviser. In 2011 he helped launch the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, the department's office in charge of anti-ISIS messaging online. 'These guys have been perfecting their propaganda on the Internet for a long, long time.'... Unlike even the best efforts of al Qaeda, she said, ISIS propaganda is reminiscent of Hollywood and Madison Avenue. ... It's based around a series of high-definition multilingual documentaries and sizzle reels. ... McCants, the former State Department adviser, believes America needs to fight tweets with tweets, and posts with posts. His former home, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, targets online 'fence sitters,' he said, hoping to pull them into a U.S.-friendly state of mind."

Meet Share America, the U.S. State Department’s Upworthy clone - Nancy Scola, washingtonpost.com: "The public diplomacy game is going viral, as Russia has been demonstrating of late with its remarkable agility in getting its message out about the Ukraine conflict in today's networked information environment. Eager to compete in what might be called social warfare, the United States has just soft-launched Share America, a new site that looks much like another enormously successful vendor of social media fodder, Upworthy. And what Share America is serving up is bite-sized nuggets of video, photos and text, all optimized to be as shareable as possible on the Web. The goal is to feed content aligned with stated American values -- 'democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society,' reads the


site -- in the ever-hungry maw of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. ... American diplomats have long tried to win the information game. And under both previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current Secretary John Kerry, the State Department has attempted to identify and even amplify the nuances of an increasingly horizontal world; the 21st Century Statecraft push centered on the idea that there is growing power in peer-to-peer communications. But now that formal outreach channels like Voice of America are competing with thousands, if not millions, of less formal channels, it can be difficult for governments to find traction. ... Tom Cochran, the former chief technology officer at Atlantic Media, joined the State Department in March, bringing his knowledge of how the modern, data-driven media environment works. Cochran is helping to drive the creation of Share America. Each post on the site is produced by State Department staff." Image from

Arming Syrian rebels: Deja vu all over again - Rachel Stohl and Geneive Abdo, thehill.com: "The 30-year history of extremism in the Middle East shows that the ultimate defeat of violent groups happens only when they lose the support of local populations. The U.S. should launch campaigns — on the ground and through public diplomacy — to aid civilians who are inadvertently harmed by ISIS and also work with local figures to discredit the militant group. In the long-term, this is the only remedy to prevent ISIS from gaining more territory. The objective would be to offer a counter narrative to ISIS through social media and public diplomacy to deprive them of local support."

Obama bombs Syria and threatens wider war in violation of UN Charter - presstv.ir: "After the US bombing of Syria on Tuesday, Obama administration officials issued a number of self-serving and misleading statements seeking to justify its actions as complying with international law. ... It is noteworthy that the statements issued by the Obama administration vaguely appeal to 'international law' and 'self-defense' without citing specific rules of the


United Nations Charter, including its cardinal rule, Article 2(4), which prohibits the threat and use of force by states in the conduct of their international relations. This permits administration officials to engage in public diplomacy about the legality of the Syria bombing with little accountability to the public." Image from

Analyst faults Obama administration's inaction in Syria giving rise to terrorist group ISIL - Dibya Sarkar, fiercehomelandsecurity.com: "[D]uring a Sept. 22 panel discussion hosted by the nonpartisan, New York-based American Security Project on the U.S. role in the Middle East. ... Tara Sonenshine, former under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs in the State Department from 2012 to 2013, said Obama has often been accused of being too cautious and careful. But when he called out ISIL as a terrorist organization, he still is faulted – a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' position, she said."

Under Secretary Stengel's Travel to the United Kingdom, Qatar and United Arab Emirates - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, September 26, 2014 - state.gov: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel will travel to London, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai September 29 - October 2, 2014. The Under Secretary will meet with media executives and leading journalists to exchange ideas on the global effort to expose and counter the ideology of ISIL. Under Secretary Stengel also plans to meet with senior government officials in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In Abu Dhabi, he will speak with students at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus and meet with members of the social media community. Under Secretary Stengel will also visit State Department Regional Media Hubs in London and Dubai."

The power of girls and tech could change the world - Lane Anderson, national.deseretnews.com: "What would we like the world to look like in 2030? The Social Good Summit in New York City, a meeting-of-the-minds of world leaders, acclaimed activists and celebrities posed this question at the annual meeting this week. ... Richard Stengel, the under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs (the third-ranking position in the Department of State), also hoped to mobilize youth to prepare for the future. At the summit Monday, the former editor of Time magazine said that even media only has a certain amount of power



and urged youth to get involved in the public space. 'Instead of being an activist outside the system, go into government. Run for office, work for city council,' Stengel urged. 'Now is the time to be involved, get involved in activist organizations ... double down.' He urged young people to use social media to create change. 'You're on social media all the time, it's not just clicking that you 'Like' something, it's also registering when you don't like something or contradicting something,' he said. 'Contest the space.'" Image from

United States Partners with African Countries to Counter Terrorist Threats - blog.gao.gov: "Northwest Africa [:] The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), established in 2005, focuses



on ... northwest African countries ... TSCTP-funded activities include: ... encouraging youth to reject violent extremism through public diplomacy." Image from entry

A Fulbright Is Not a Political Football - Tara Sonenshine, huffingtonpost.com: "The Fulbright is the most competitive and highly sought academic fellowship in the world. ... The Fulbright program must stay fully funded. ... Fulbright is one small way to maintain the world's largest multilateral investment in public diplomacy. Tara Sonenshine is former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs."

Will terrorists listen to US? - Tara Sonenshine, thehill.com: "Successful global projects take collaboration. ... Sonenshine is a former under secretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs."

‘4,000 Nigerians benefit from US exchange programmes’ - tribune.com.ng: "The Public Diplomacy Officer at the United States Consulate-General in Lagos, Mrs Rhonda Watson, said on Monday that no fewer than 4,000 Nigerians had, so far, benefited from various US cultural exchange programmes in the past 20 years. Watson told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that such Nigerians had benefited from the US Full Bright [sic], Hubert Humphrey Programmes and the International Visitor Leadership Programme. She said the beneficiaries were carefully selected from different educational institutions and fields of human endeavours across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria."

Universidades de EU en busca de estudiantes y maestros yucatecos: El próximo miércoles, en la Uady, 32 escuelas de EU ofrecerán a alumnos y docentes cursos de inglés, licenciatura o posgrado - Cecilia Ricárdez - sipse.com: "MÉRIDA, Yucatán.- Con ofertas de más de 32 universidades estadounidenses, que ofrecen programas para aprender inglés, una licenciatura o posgrado, así como estancias cortas, tendrá lugar en Mérida el 1 de octubre la Feria de Movilidad Educativa México-Estados Unidos convocado por el Consulado General de este país en la capital yucateca. ... De acuerdo Tricia



encargada del área de Public Diplomacy (Diplomacia pública), son más de 32 Universidades Estadounidenses que llegan a la ciudad para a ofrecer sus programas, para aprender inglés, licenciatura o posgrado, estancias cortas en EU." Image from entry, with caption: Imagen de una plática acerca de las oportunidades de estudiar en EU y dirigido a estudiantes, profesiones y académicos.

Amerikansk diplomat på museumsvisit - fyens.dk: "Kerteminde: Brinille Eliane Ellis er amerikansk diplomat og 'public diplomacy desk officer in the Office of Nordic and Baltic affairs'. På sin kommende rejse til Danmark ønsker hun at beskæftige sig med en af sine personlige interesser - nemlig afrikansk-amerikansk kunst. På Johannes Larsen Museet i Kerteminde er der en lille samling af den afroamerikanske maler og grafiker William H. Johnsons (1901-1970) kunst. Han boede nemlig i Kerteminde i 1930'erne og malede en lange række billeder her, som den dag i dag hænger i mange kerteminderes stuer. Johnson var gift med den danske væver, Holcha Krake. Brinille Eliane Ellis har beskæftiget sig med William H. Johnsons kunst på universitetet, hvorfra hun bl.a. har en B.A. i litteratur & retorik."

Culinary Diplomacy Takes Texan Chef To The Land Of Grilled Yak [includes video] - Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles, npr.org: "As you may have heard, America's diplomats are struggling these days with a few distracting and unpleasant events in far-off parts of the world. But they're rising to the challenge: They're sending in the chefs. The U.S. State Department launched a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership two years ago in order to 'elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts.' Some of the country's most renowned chefs



have volunteered to help out, joining the department's 'Chef Corps.;Tim Byres, founder of a restaurant called Smoke in Dallas, joined the Chef Corps, and a few weeks ago he found himself flying to one of the most remote corners of the world: Kyrgyzstan, a land of stupendous mountain peaks in central Asia, just west of China and north of Afghanistan." Byres image from

Six Los Angeles restaurants given Taiwan’s stamp of approval - Zen Vuong, pasadenastarnews.com: "A Taiwan agency gave six Los Angeles County restaurants an Overseas Quality Restaurant award Tuesday in an effort to promote eateries which serve authentic Taiwanese cuisine. Benson Wang, deputy director-general of the de facto Taiwan consulate in Los Angeles, said the 626 phenomenon — where people go nuts over boba milk tea and myriad Chinese dishes — owes special thanks to restaurants such as Pearl’s Restaurant and New Noodle King. ... Some of the restaurants serve cuisines from mainland China because many Chinese people immigrated to Taiwan in 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was created, TECO spokesman Kent Yang said. Yet, he said, the recognized restaurants serve food that have distinct Taiwanese flavors not found in the People’s Republic of China. Food always engages people and aids in public diplomacy, said Tony Ong, director of TECO [Taipei Economic and Cultural Office] in Los Angeles."

Iran’s Dinner Diplomacy - Robin Wright, New Yorker: "Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, did not shake hands with Barack Obama at the United Nations this week, a year after their celebrated cell-phone chat. The two men didn’t even pass each other in the hallway. But Rouhani did give a quiet dinner at his hotel on Tuesday for twenty former American officials. It’s crunch time for diplomacy on Iran’s controversial nuclear program, with not much moving lately and the November 24th deadline looming. Tehran and Washington have also, suddenly, found themselves with common cause in confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. The ISIS threat was Rouhani’s primary focus during his week of intensive public diplomacy in New York.



It overshadowed the nuclear issue—and redefined Tehran’s motive for wanting a deal. ... He and his guests sat at four tables arranged in a rectangle, around a four-foot-tall bouquet of showy flowers, including pastel gladioli, an Iranian favorite.  ... The mood at the dinner was subdued, even somber, I am told. After a meal of Middle Eastern dishes, heavy on lamb and rice, Rouhani engaged in a give-and-take for almost two hours." Image from

Incorporating Big Data: One Giant Leap for Diplomacy - Ali Fisher, uscpublicdiplomacy.org: "The recent study 'Data-Driven Public Diplomacy,' released by the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, provides valuable recommendations on how to better support data-driven programs and campaigns that engage foreign audiences. Two important conclusions from the report highlight that: --There is a seeming lack of interest among State Department and Broadcast Board of Governors officials in research for planning and program



design. Even when data is produced, it is neither actionable nor incorporated into the workflow. -- A 'culture of research' in U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting would recognize the value of research-based strategic planning, provide benchmarks for measurement, and move toward more systematically understanding the impact of programs to inform and engage foreign audiences. ... To make use of available insights and to operate the '21st century tool kit for public diplomacy' will require diplomats trained in the skills of classical diplomacy and the analytical technologies of the 21st century." Image from entry

Availability of Public Diplomacy Program Material Within the United States: A Rule by the State Department on 09/22/2014 - federalregister.gov: "SUMMARY: The Department of State ('Department') finalizes an interim final rule that establishes procedures for the Department to respond to domestic requests for program material disseminated by the Department abroad. The Department adopts the rule as final, without amendment."

Shoebat Joins Coalition Against U.S. Muslim ‘Ally’ that should be ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ - rightsidenews.com: "Shoebat.com is honored to join a coalition of signatories that wish to shatter the perception that the nation of Qatar is an ‘ally’ of the United States.



In reality, it’s a state sponsor of terrorism. ... In 2004, two years after the courting began, the relationship between this terror state and the U.S. was officially consummated at the inaugural US-IWF in Doha, Qatar. ... [P]eople who traveled to Qatar and participated in that year’s forum include Karen Hughes: Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Also a close adviser to George W. Bush." Image from entry

Op-Ed: What a Mess the United States Has Gotten Into -- The US has gone from being a world power to dealing wih ISIS. And you know who has facilitated that - Ted Belman, israelnationalnews.com: "In 2007, Seymour Hersh reported in depth on it in Redirections published by The New Yorker, calling it a 'strategic shift'. 'In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The 'redirection', as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.' [..]"

Bloomberg Media Chairman Andy Lack Named CEO of Broadcasting Board of Governors - Nick Massella, mediabistro.com: "Bloomberg Media Group chairman Andy Lack has been named the first CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which has oversight of the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Martí, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. 'Andy is a great leader, a great communicator, and a great journalist,' said former TIME managing editor Richard Stengel, now Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, in the announcement. 'He is the perfect person – and I really mean the perfect person – to be this organization’s first CEO in the 21st century. We are lucky to have him, and we at State look forward to working with him.'”

A Snub to Congress: Oversight of International Broadcasting Agency in Question - Helle Dale, dailysignal.com: "With the hiring of new Chief Executive Officer Andy Lack, formerly of Bloomberg News, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has pulled an end-run around congressional efforts to reform and restore civilian U.S. international broadcasting. The hire was announced this week, the same week it became clear that reform legislation, H.R. 4490, which passed the House overwhelmingly in July, has now stalled in the Senate. According to sources with Voice of America, the flagship of U.S. international broadcasting, Lack


comes into the job with a mandate from BBG chairman Jeffrey Shell to effect thorough reform. That reform is to take one of these three tracks: 1. Phase out Voice of America, which the Board persistently has treated as a Cold War anachronism and tried to shrink in favor of surrogates such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, etc. 2. De-federalize VOA, making it a grantee organization like the surrogate radios, which operate independently but with grants from the U.S. government. This would eliminate both the VOA unions and the tie to the State Department, which signs off on VOA editorials on U.S. policy to the chagrin of VOA management. 3. Reorganize the broadcasters within the constraints of the current management system. Congress has every right to be peeved at this maneuver, which is one more example of the BBG trying to circumvent its will. The aim of H.R. 4490 was in part to save Voice of America as a major tool of U.S. public diplomacy at a time when such tools are needed more than ever. (Ironically, management at VOA and a number of its journalists could not see that). Another aim was to eliminate the BBG, whose part-time status, tendency to misjudge strategic global broadcasting needs and hostility to the essential public diplomacy mission of the agency has earned it many critics in Congress over the years. Before the board and its new CEO move too far ahead with planning, the Senate ought to consider its own legislation in the lame-duck session that will follow the mid-term elections in November. The BBG is governing broadcasting effectively without any oversight at this time, and the U.S. foreign policy tool box could be the poorer for it." Lack image from entrysee also.

West v Russia: Propaganda war rages on: Are the old mouthpieces of the Cold War going through a renaissance these days? - Alexander Nekrassov, aljazeera.com: "[T]he bill that was passed last week by the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, the so-called 'Russian Aggression Prevention Bill', that authorises $10 million a year to be used to counter 'Russian propaganda' in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. It all has to do with financing broadcasts by the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to these fine destinations. It is no doubt a welcome boost for these mouthpieces of the Cold War that are going through a renaissance these days. Obviously, these amounts are totally separate from other branches of the US government spending on the propaganda war with Russia. It doesn't, for example, include $100m provided by the US to NGOs in Russia and $25m to opposition bloggers, according to the respected Russian website, politonline.ru. We already know that the US has spent a massive $5bn on 'promoting democracy in Ukraine' alone, as revealed by Victoria Nuland of the US State Department. But every little helps, as they say, especially if we add all those freebies



like [sic] I mentioned above. Not forgetting that the EU has its own programmes of 'helping to promote democracy' in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova; so whatever the US spends, it triggers a chain reaction among its allies. The Russian answer to that is not very impressive, if you consider that the TV channel Russia Today reportedly gets nearly $500m a year to run all of its services across the world and the Voice of Russia radio station that broadcasts in around 50 countries is said to have a modest $25m budget. Both of these services are not widely available in Georgia and Moldova and are banned in Ukraine. And if you consider that RT and VoR don't have the same access to audiences in the West as the mighty US broadcasters, it really doesn't look all that impressive. ... lexander Nekrassov is a former Kremlin and government adviser." 
Image from entry, with caption: The Cold War mentality never left the minds of people in the corridors of power, writes Nekrassov

Leaders alike: 10 similarities between Obama and Modi - Sushil Aaron, Hindustan Times: "Obama and Modi have similar approaches to public diplomacy and managing the narrative. Both ran path-breaking online elections campaigns but constricted communications with the public on assuming power. Obama's direct communications with constituents tapered off soon after assuming the presidency and the Modi has passed clear instructions to his cabinet to avoid briefing the media."

PM reaches out to Americans but minces no words on engaging neighbours - Hindustan Times: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States is going remarkably well. Unlike visits to the US by his predecessor Manmohan Singh, Mr Modi’s visit has an air of pageantry alongside the more serious elements. The prime minister has been greeted by enthusiastic Indian fans lining the streets of New York and Mr Modi has warmed to the festivity – comfortably segueing into a rock concert at Central Park


and sharing the limelight with Hollywood’s A-list celebrities. Mr Modi’s address to 50,000-strong crowd was a clever bit of public diplomacy to project India and himself to young Americans. On the substantive side, the prime minister exhorted Indian American business leaders to invest in India and met New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio to discern trends in rejuvenating urban spaces, developing public housing and policing big cities." Image from

Modi has set a high benchmark by projecting himself as a transformative leader - Hindustan Times: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi was, at the time of going to press, holding substantive discussions with US President Barack Obama after both had, in the ministry of external affairs’ words, a 'cordial and comforting conversation' over dinner . ... Mr Modi has devoted his attention to public diplomacy during this visit, in an effort to acquaint the American people and businesses with himself, the ambitions of his government and what they mean for stakeholders in India."

UChicago ends controversial China-funded program - Stuart Leaveworth, ledger-enquirer.com: "China’s soft-diplomacy push hit a speed bump this week when the University of Chicago decided to pull the plug on renewing a controversial Beijing-funded Confucius Institute. The decision may prompt other universities to rethink their relationships with Confucius institutes – attractive because they offer free Chinese-language classes and cultural programs to cash-strapped colleges in the United States, albeit with limitations on what they can teach. In a statement Thursday, the University of Chicago said it had tried to negotiate a renewal agreement with Hanban, the Chinese agency that manages Confucius institutes. 'However, recently published comments about UChicago in an article about the director-general of Hanban are incompatible with a continued equal partnership,' the statement said. Asked about the offending comments, university spokeswoman Sarah Nolan cited a Sept. 19 article published in the Chinese-language newspaper Jiefang Daily of Shanghai. The comments in question appear toward the end of the article, when Hanban director Xu Lin is quoted as bragging about her tough negotiating style with the university. The article says that after UChicago faculty objected to the Confucius Institute in April, Xu wrote a letter to the university’s president with only one line, 'If your school decides to withdraw, I will agree to it.'


The article then reports that UChicago got 'anxious' and reassured Xu that it would continue to host the Confucius Institute. In all likelihood, the university’s decision to drop the Confucius Institute was related only partly to Xu’s reported braggadocio. As of May, more than 100 faculty members had signed on to a letter calling for the university to end its relationship with Hanban and close the institute. The letter objected to allowing Hanban to 'have a voice in the research and curriculum of the university,' compromising its academic freedom and subjecting staff and students to China’s 'political constraints on free speech and belief.' Hanban officials, and some of its U.S. supporters, say the organization doesn’t attach strings to its funding of Confucius institutes. Detractors say, however, that there’s substantial evidence that Hanban tells Confucius Institute instructors not to discuss topics deemed sensitive to Beijing, such as the status of Taiwan or the treatment of Tibetans, Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in China." Image from entry, with caption: Beijing, ChinaSee also.

Hard times for China's soft power - Peter Cai, businessspectator.com.au: "Hundreds of Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of the first institute over the weekend. Many in Beijing see it as a major achievement of China’s effort to project its soft power abroad at a time when the world is getting nervous about its rise. However, it got a nasty present from a leading American university just two days before its big birthday bash. The University of Chicago, where President Barack Obama taught as a law professor as well as being the home of free market economics, decided to suspend negotiations on renewing its relationship with the Confucius Institute. The university decided to sever the relationship after director-general Xu Lin, who holds the rank of a vice-minister, told the Jiefang Daily that she would not hesitate to end the relationship if it was the wish of the university. It was seen as a rebuke to the university after more than 1000 members of the faculty


complained that the institute was undermining academic integrity. ... Gary Rawnsley, a noted British academic on public diplomacy and international communication expert said 'Xu Lin could not have picked a worse time to assert her imaginary authority. Academic institutions will now have reason to be more suspicious of Confucius Institutes, while those who have long suspected their political agenda will have far more credibility.' Xu’s hardline behaviour highlights one of the biggest problems for Beijing’s charm offensive. It still relies on officials like Xu, who still think and act like party ideologues who like to assert their authority and bully people into submission. They fail to understand that the essence of soft power is all in the mind -- unlike hard power, which is all about tangible assets such as raw economic power and military hardware. If Beijing wants to be liked and trusted internationally, it has to change its behaviour and handle basic issues like academic freedom with greater tact and sensitivity." Image from

China-Japan forum ends with message of hope - Zhang Yunbi, english.peopledaily.com: "Panelists voiced hope of an early ending to the 'frigid winter" of China-Japan ties as the 10th Beijing-Tokyo forum concluded on Monday. The annual event took place as the Sino-Japanese relationship has plummeted, though the governments have shown signs of increasing liaisons over the East China Sea and historical feuds. At the closing ceremony of the forum, co-hosted by China Daily and Japanese non-profit think tank Genron NPO, veteran diplomat Wu Jianmin, former Chinese ambassador to France, suggested that 'people should always keep hope in mind'. ... Toshiro Mutoh, chairman of the Daiwa Institute of Research and former vice-president of the Bank of Japan, said both governments face challenges and chances from an aging population, currency policies, domestic economic restructuring and foreign investment. Mutoh said the two largest Asian economies 'are expected to take responsible actions for the orderliness of the region's economy', and public diplomacy and intergovernmental liaisons are vital."

9 Ways Japan Can Better Tell Its Story to the World: A media relations expert offers advice on how Japan could improve its public diplomacy storytelling - Nancy Snow, the diplomat.com: "[Among them]: Japan needs to develop more public relations speaking, but this is practically non-existent now in a


country that has no formal programs in global public relations and public diplomacy. ... Japan needs public diplomacy and global communications skills stat. ... Snow is a two-time recipient of a Fulbright (Germany, Japan) and has served as a U.S. Speaker and Specialist in Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Tokyo." Tokyo image from entry

Is Indonesia losing the race? - Benjamin Davis, thejakartapost.com: "Public diplomacy is a key pillar of a country’s foreign policy toolkit. In a world where non-state actors – foreign publics, media, NGOs, civil society organizations and multinational corporations — are increasingly important, soft power initiatives — outreach activities directed at foreign nations to enhance a country’s international reputation — are increasingly prominent in the foreign policy landscape. ... The public diplomacy landscape has traditionally been dominated by rich developed nations like the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Spain and the United States. But the global order is changing. China is its biggest challenge, investing significant amounts of time and funds into public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad, establishing over 1,000 Confucius Institutes and classrooms in 120 countries, and pouring huge amounts of money into their foreign broadcaster. But it isn’t the only one. Korea is not far behind building its positive global image through the establishment of Korean Cultural Centers and promotion of 'K-Pop'. Others have done well through tourism campaigns like the ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ or ‘Incredible India’. Thailand, despite recent political upheaval, has traditionally done well through its culinary diplomacy strategy, and more recent strategies aimed at promoting the country’s friendly people and its desirability as a destination for medical makeovers. Indonesia is losing the public diplomacy battle. You only need to look at how most Australians view Indonesia — through the prism of security, beef sagas, terrorism, natural disasters, and drug smugglers — to see the vacuum left when a country does little to promote itself to the outside world. While there have been piecemeal efforts to promote its culture through Indonesian arts and culture and scholarships and some culinary and fashion diplomacy, its national brand abroad has been crafted around its uniqueness as a place where Islam and democracy co-exist peacefully. Indonesian leaders have tended to focus their attention on other foreign political elites through foreign policy initiatives like the Bali Democracy Forum and interfaith dialogues rather than promote cultural diplomacy. But if you ask long term Indonesia admirers what attracts them to the country, answers touch on the blend of culture, diverse religion, food and friendly people. Indonesia is the land of exceptions (tanah perkecualian). But it can do much more than promote its diversity. Others are fascinated by the amazing diversity of the archipelago from Sharia-ruled Aceh to the pigs running around in West Papua.


And then there’s the wayang (puppet show) and gamelan, the plethora of traditional dances, amazing wildlife, mystical beliefs, the beautiful countryside, the ease of learning the language and the joy Indonesians take in foreigners’ attempts to speak it. These people-to-people links are the bedrock of relationships between Indonesia and the outside world. Just imagine what Indonesia could do if more people knew of these hidden treasures. What Indonesia should do is take a leaf out of China’s book and join the charm offensive war being battled out by other global and regional powers. Instead, it has chosen to not to open itself to the outside world. The complex regulations for research and study permits are clear indicators that Indonesia does not want to open up to others. Indonesia can’t be blamed for focusing on major concerns like lifting large numbers of people out of poverty, ensuring every kid can go to school, delivering better healthcare, providing better infrastructure, reducing corruption and environmental degradation, and combatting terrorism and natural disasters. But times are changing. Indonesia is projected to be the eighth biggest economy in the world by 2030 and there is a growing confidence in Indonesia of its potential to be a regional and global power. Indonesia has made a positive start announcing that it would establish 10 rumah budaya Indonesia (Indonesian cultural centers) in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Turkey, Japan, Timor Leste, Singapore, Myanmar and Australia. There is a real opportunity to put some ballast behind these centres to ensure a positive face for Indonesia in foreign countries. The United States spends around half a billion dollars on public diplomacy efforts annually through its public diplomacy division. While it would not be realistic to expect anywhere near the same amount of expenditure in Indonesia, increasing funding for cultural activities (pencak silat martial art, Indonesian language, culture, religious diversity, dance, food, music and film) in Indonesian consulates and embassies, educational and professional exchange programs, and targeted'digital strategies to engage foreign publics, will ensure a positive image for Indonesia around the globe. With the new Joko 'Jokowi” Widodo administration coming on board soon, it will be crucial for the new Foreign Minister to ensure that momentum is maintained. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has done a great deal to cement a positive image of Indonesia as a democratic Islamic nation; but this won’t be enough to compete in the public diplomacy battle being waged into the future." Image from

Time for Thailand to develop smart power - Kavi Chongkittavorn, The Nation: "Thailand is in a deep pit. We need to convince the world that this nation will recover from the current political transition and shine again. We need to develop 'smart power' - a combination of soft power and public diplomacy - using our cultural assets and good practices that will promote better understanding and friendship with the outside world."

Delayed diplomacy: It is a sad state of affairs that so many key Nepali embassies have been without ambassadors for so long - Sharma and Bhattarai, ekantipur.com: "At a time when public diplomacy is becoming a buzzword, traditional diplomacy is still a big deal when it comes to addressing issues of paramount bilateral interest. Even peoples’ diplomacy experiences hitches when traditional diplomacy fails to follow or provide guidelines to new foreign policy dynamics. ... Without a carefully strategised diplomatic policy framework in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world, Nepal cannot produce the advantage that comes from cooperative pursuits in economic, political, and cultural fronts. Whether it is about fighting terrorism or expanding trade and commerce, information exchange is becoming a crucial task in international relations. Right diplomacy can make this happen—mitigate risks, both internal and external and exploit opportunities. Nepal has clearly fallen off the cliff in the absence of right people in the right place in the right time. It is a sad state of affairs to note that the country’s more than a dozen embassies have been without ambassadors for more than a year now. The Nepali Embassy in Washington DC has been without an ambassador since January this year."

Researchers: Russia’s public diplomacy increases tension within Latvia - bnn-news.com: "Nearly all of Russia’s public diplomacy instruments lead to confrontations on either the internal political or external political level, as concluded in the latest report by the Eastern European Policies Research Centre 'Russia’s public diplomacy in Latvia: media and non-government sector'.


It is concluded in this report – realization of Russia’s public diplomacy in Latvia demonstrates that specific reinterpretations of media reports, language and citizenship topics and historic events divides Latvia’s society and increases tension in the country, not improves relations with Russia." Uncaptioned image from entry

Cutting off Australia’s international television arm - Ross Tapsell, eastasiaforum.org: ["I]n January 2014 when the ABC’s Jakarta correspondent reported claims (including photographs) that asylum seekers attempting to come to Australia by boat had possibly had their hands burnt by the Australian Navy. The claims, which were emphatically denied by the head of the navy, were broadcast on Australia Network throughout the region. It was soon clear that Australia Network’s A$223 million ($US195 million) funding (over 10 years) would be cut from the budget. At the time it was broadcasting in 46 different countries. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had argued that it was not fulfilling the Australian government’s foreign policy objectives as a ‘tool of public diplomacy’ and questions surrounded ‘whether it is meeting the goal of promoting Australia’s interests overseas’. Earlier this month, as Australia Network began to shed its staff, it was announced that Sky News (owned by BSkyB and the Seven and Nine Networks) would launch the new Australia Channel. This will be facilitated in conjunction with broadcast provider Globecast Australia." See also.

Rudd-Gillard war disrespected office of PM [Letter to the Editor] - Marc Hendrickx, theaustralian.com.au: "In regard to the closure of the Australia Network, ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] claimed it 'met all of its contractual obligations and key performance indicators...'. Under DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade]’s public diplomacy program, the key performance indicator for the network, outlined in DFAT’s 2012-13 annual report, requires the delivery of 'an accurate and contemporary image of Australia, an understanding of the government’s foreign and trade policies, and strengthened people-to-people links and trade and economic ties'."

Young Malaysian diplomats tour Australia's Parliament House - Hasnah Hariri, thestar.com.my "Educational visit is final leg of their studies at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations. ... When the 2014 batch arrived at the veranda of Australia’s most famous


building, Carol Mills, Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services, gave them nothing short of a grand tour." Image from entry, with caption: Mills with young Malaysian diplomat Delfina Dris at the House of Representatives Chamber in Parliament House

Europeans say both Israel and Hamas to blame for Gaza toll: Israeli foreign ministry poll shows French, Germans, Brits hold each side equally responsible - i24news.tv: "The survey sought to assess whether the ministry's public diplomacy efforts to disseminate positive information about Israel abroad, known in Hebrew as 'hasbarah,' are effective. It found relatively balanced perspectives, with a mere eight percent of Germans, 11% of the French and 19% of British respondents laying the blame exclusively at Israel's door. A slightly larger proportion of respondents – 15% of both Germans and French and 19% of Britons – said Hamas was the sole responsible party. ... The ministry responded to the results saying it 'has its finger on the pulse. The Israeli message is seeping through and is absorbed by the target populations. The ministry is constantly seeking to sharpen Israel's message.'"

The Rising Terrorist Threat in Tanzania: Domestic Islamist Militancy and Regional Threats - Andre LeSage, eurasiareview.com: "[T]o counter the violent extremist message


being broadcast by al Shabab and local militant groups, Tanzania—in conjunction with international partners—needs to launch more concerted strategic communications and public diplomacy efforts." Uncaptioned image from entry

Nigeria: Bring Back Our Girls and Take Back Those Promises - allafrica.com: "The quest for nations to look good in the eyes of citizens of other nations is a chief cornerstone of public diplomacy. But the way a state actually relates with others is a function of foreign policy interests. This is a reason why words do not always match expectations or actions in international affairs. This is the reality of the situation with the Chibok girls and the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. But it is good enough consolation at this time that Nigeria can rise up to the challenge as demonstrated by the string of successes recorded by the armed forces in the North-east in recent days."

Brazil enacts agreement with Kuwait: Ricardo Lewandowski, president of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court, has enacted a cultural exchange treaty signed in 2010 one day after convening with the Kuwaiti ambassador in Brasília - Marcos Carrieri, anba.com.br: "The acting president of Brazil, minister Ricardo Lewandowski, has enacted a cultural cooperation agreement with Kuwait this Wednesday (24th) in Brasília. The action takes place one day after Lewandowski, the president of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court (STF, in the Portuguese acronym) met with the Kuwaiti ambassador in Brazil, Ayadah Alsaidi. According to the STF, the agreement enacted by Lewandowski this Wednesday was signed in 2010 with Kuwait and lays the legal groundwork for cooperation and cultural exchange in fields like literature, cinema, performing arts, visual arts, music, libraries and museums."

Breaking Bread for Peace: Conflict Kitchen and Cultural Food Diplomacy - Vanessa Thevathasan, huffingtonpost.com: "Food diplomacy initiatives are increasingly being recognized as a successful means to open up peace dialogue as a result of our increasingly cosmopolitan palettes. Food is one of the oldest forms of exchange, with yet untapped recognition to deliver social conflict transformation.


With this in mind, International Alert's Conflict Kitchen London opens up a new avenue to pursue peace dialogue by taking people on a tantalizing journey exploring new culinary experiences. ... Conflict Kitchen London's invitation to share in the experiences of other's is effectively using food to open the door to national and international forms of cultural diplomacy." Uncaptioned image from entry

Prince Shuffles to Spotify to Head Comms - Greg Hazley, odwyerpr.com: "Jonathan Prince, a veteran Washington communicator and Clinton and Obama administration hand, is joining music streaming service Spotify as global head of communications and public policy. ... On the public sector side, he was deputy assistant secretary of state for strategic communications and public diplomacy for Middle East Peace and handled communications and messaging for the Clinton White [H]ouse."

EU To Appoint Dedicated Ambassador To ASEAN - rttnews.com: "The European External Action Service (EEAS) on Wednesday indicated it was on the lookout for a dedicated European Union Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ... The dedicated EU Ambassador to ASEAN, based in Jakarta, will coordinate the EU's expanding cooperation activities with ASEAN. He or she will represent the EU in all relevant negotiations, coordinate with EU Member States and enhance public diplomacy efforts in relation to EU support for ASEAN integration."

¿Y si España no entra en el Consejo de la ONU? - Francisco Javier Hernández, theobjective.com: "Francisco Javier Hernández [:] Director Ejecutivo de Public Diplomacy Partners. Profesor universitario y asesor político. Experto en diplomacia y política estratégica. Conferenciante internacional y autor de varios libros. @FJHdiplomacy."

Malawi Human Rights Concern as Mutharika Silent on Sexual Minorities -- With Homophobia and violence on rise - Melanie Nathan, oblogdeeoblogda.me: "Arthur Peter Mutharika (born 1940)


is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014. ... He was charged to help bridge relations between Malawi and the United Kingdom due to the deterioration of public diplomacy between the two nations after the Chocrane-Dyet controversy." Image from entry

A Day in the Life of a Public Diplomacy Officer at a U.S. Embassy - Patricia Kabra, takefiveblog.org: "Public Diplomacy Officers in the Foreign Service work 24/7 explaining U.S. foreign policy; presenting American society and values in a positive light; listening to people who have


strong opinions about our policies and engaging in dialogue with them; partnering on projects; and providing information to U.S. citizens in the event of a crisis. ... About Patricia Kabra [:] Public Diplomacy Diplomatic Fellow at the the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at George Washington University -- and a Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Department of State." Kabra image from entry

RealInternships: Public Diplomacy Around the World and my Internship at the State Department - Julia Lamberti, careeredge.bc.edu: "There are hundreds of offices within the State Department, from the Office of Global Women’s Issues, to the Office of the U.S. Global Aids Coordinator, to the Office of Economic Sanctions Policy. The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs piqued my interest due to my background in the Carroll School of Management, and the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement appealed to my passion for technology as a tool for economic development.


The office participates in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations that enhance intellectual property regimes worldwide. Because a strong intellectual property framework can enable technological innovation to scale, I wanted to contribute to the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, whose mission allows small businesses to grow, create jobs, and raise standards of living for the world’s poorest people. During my time at the State Department, I assisted in managing the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement’s public diplomacy grant making program." Image from entry, with caption: Flags and a mug I bought at the State Department gift shop. My exposure to the U.S. government instilled in me a greater appreciation for the sacrifices my grandparents from Italy and Puerto Rico made by coming to the United States to give their descendants a better life.

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How Obama's UN Speech Enabled Iran's Propaganda - Joel B. Pollak, breitbart.com: Last week, President Barack Obama complained to the United Nations General Assembly about violence in Ferguson, Missouri, implicitly equating the protests to the genocidal violence of ISIS, his primary focus in the address.


On Sunday, Iranian leader Ali Khamenei picked up Obama's criticism of America, unleashing a stream of abuse on Twitter based on criticism of events in Ferguson, accusing the U.S. of hypocrisy on human rights. Uncaptioned image from entry

ISIS Propaganda Campaign: Did The Islamic State Group Unintentionally Provide U.S. With Airstrike Intel? - Alessandria Masi, ibtimes.com: The Islamic State group’s propaganda campaign could actually be working against them. When the U.S. military planned the aerial bombardments against the Sunni extremist group, it may have done so using location information ascertained from the militants’ vast array of


self-published, open-source information. Civilians were, after all, able to pinpoint with great accuracy the location of ISIS tweets and social media posts.Image from entry, with caption: The cover of the third issue of the Islamic State group's magazine, Dabiq

ISIS Releases New Propaganda Video of British Hostage John Cantlie - nbcnews.com: The terror group ISIS released a new propaganda video Monday featuring British hostage John Cantlie, a photographer who worked for the Sunday Times newspaper before he was abducted in 2012. The video is the third video ISIS has released of Cantlie and the second 'episode' of a series called "Lend Me Your Ears," in which Cantlie appears to be forced to make anti-West remarks.

Professor: Jihadists Using Propaganda in Same Way As 19th Century Anarchists - en.ria.ru: Jihadists are circulating ghastly beheading videos for the same purpose that 19th-century anarchists carried out violent acts of terrorism, which is to deliver "propaganda by the deed," a professor of history


at Yale University has told RIA Novosti. Professor John Merriman, an expert on the history of the anarchist and nihilist movements and author of "The Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in the Fin-De-Siecle Paris Ignited The Age of Modern Terror", told RIA Novosti that, "One comparison would be the way jihadists use executions 'pour encourager les autres' [to encourage the others], and anarchist 'deeds' as they called them." Image from entry, with caption: Yale University professor John Merriman believes jihadists are circulating ghastly beheading videos to deliver "propaganda by the deed."

I went on a Strange, Propaganda-filled Press Junket to Moscow - Holly Baxter, vice.com: Ask anyone in the mainstream Russian media what they think of their Western counterparts and they will answer you with one word: "propagandists."


Again and again, we were told in this exact phraseology that Russia was aiming to "win the information war." There is no objective truth, we were informed by one official; there is only narrative. A teenager studying journalism at Moscow State University told us that "democracy is an illusion." Image from entry, with caption: Some of the T-shirts on sale in Moscow's Red Square

The Simpsons Go to China - Hua Hsu, New Yorker: Later this fall, "The Simpsons" will begin streaming in China, as part of a new multi-year deal between Fox and Sohu, a minor colossus in the competitive world of Chinese Web portals. While more popular sites like Baidu and Sina have won over young users by investing in gaming and social networking, Sohu, an early pioneer on the Chinese Internet, has turned to streaming video.


Partnerships with Hollywood have proved to be an effective, though scattershot, way of attracting traffic: if you license four hundred movies and TV series at once, and dump them behind a very modest paywall, some are bound to find an audience. Even a show as exotic to the typical Chinese teen-ager as "Gossip Girl" can be assured tens of thousands of devoted viewers. ... America’s culture industry has never been so beholden to the rest of the world. Hollywood blockbusters like last summer’s "Transformers: Age of Extinction," for example, have become meticulously engineered attempts to simultaneously court audiences from Peoria to Shenzhen. America once projected its democratic ethos abroad via cowboy flicks, jazz music, and edgy painting. Now cultural diplomacy gets subsumed within hat-in-hand corporate interests; before you know it, the Dinobots turn out to be Chinese. America will continue to be the world’s image factory, but this is an era of codependency. In order to function smoothly, Americans will have to look elsewhere for financing, audiences, and maybe even the token foreign heartthrob. ... It will be fascinating to see what, if any, aspect of "The Simpsons" ’s complex philosophy takes root in China. Maybe it will be the part about questioning authority, or the pragmatism of making compromises. Uncaptioned image from entry

Hong Kong protests throw Beijing’s propaganda machine into overdrive - thenational.ae: Fearful of comparisons to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, Beijing has launched a dual effort to suppress news of swelling pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong while giving a heavy spin to what information it allows to get through. Scenes of the massive, yet peaceful, protests that have taken over the streets of the former British colony are being flashed around the world, where the reaction has been mostly supportive. On the Chinese mainland, however, the story is being spun to match a different narrative — one in which the demonstrators are “violent”, “extreme” and being manipulated by foreign forces.

Middle East: Hamas radio station in Gaza reports on the sunny side of Islamist movement’s rule - Terrence McCoy, washingtonpost.com: The al-Aqsa media operation — which includes a TV station, a production company and a Web site — has massaged and promulgated the Hamas narrative since the days of the second Palestinian uprising and today represents one of the most resilient aspects of the movement. In radio-crazy Gaza, where more than a dozen local stations compete for the ears of 1.8 million residents, the airwaves carry the emotional and political rhythms of life. But no other station has the reach and influence of al-Aqsa, which is essentially Gaza’s official state media, analysts said. Once Hamas — an Islamist group that Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization — seized control of Gaza, al-Aqsa took aim at Israel in a children’s television program called “Tomorrow’s Pioneers.” Critics say the show, which featured a


Mickey Mouse-inspired character, was a thinly veiled attempt to incite violence against Israelis. Such programs have given fuel to pro-Israel think tanks, such as the Middle East Media Research Institute, that scour Palestinian media for what they say is terrorism propaganda. Pro-Palestinian groups also scrutinize the Israeli media for bias. During the recent conflict, that long-simmering media clash reached full boil. See also. Image from

Almost 50% S Koreans Disapprove of Anti-NK Propaganda: Survey - en.ria.ru: The national opinion poll, carried out by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University in July, showed that 49,1% of its


citizens thought the propaganda should be stopped, 14,9% spoke against governmental interference, while 36,1% didn’t take sides. The tensions are caused by a group of activists, led by North Korean defectors, who have been sending helium-filled balloons over the border to spread anti-regime leaflets on the North’s territory. In July, the group bombarded their Northern neighbor with thousands of Choco Pies in response to North Korea labelling the snack “a symbol of capitalism” and prohibiting it. Last weekend 200, 000 leaflets were sent across disparaging the communist authorities. Image from entry

War, Media Propaganda and the Police State - James F. Tracy, globalresearch.ca: Western states’ development and utilization of propaganda closely parallels the steady decay of political enfranchisement and engagement throughout the twentieth century.

Anti-Mutant Propaganda Video Leads Weird-Ass X-Men: DoFP DVD Marketing - Rob Bricken, io9.com

THIS JUST IN (via LH on Facebook)

ISIS Having Difficulty Finding American Recruits Physically Fit For Jihad - theonion.com: Frustrating the Islamic extremist group’s efforts to bolster


its ranks and expand its influence overseas, representatives for ISIS told reporters Wednesday that they have so far encountered considerable difficulty in finding American recruits who are physically fit enough for jihad. Image from entry

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