"Technology's titillations are, of course, no substitute for the substance of policy."
--A comment by your PDPBR compiler
"I'm like a junkie who can't tear myself away from the TV, even though it tells me nothing of my boy's actual whereabouts or condition."
--A worried father in Israel
Youtube: 10 Propaganda Techniques
Clinton Needs Diplomats and Nation Builders - James Kitfield, National Journal, posted on Global Security Newswire, DC: National Journal, posted on Global Security Newswire, DC: "Correcting th[e] acute imbalance in American ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power is likely to prove the single greatest challenge for the next secretary of State. Its corrosive impact on foreign policy is already evident in a series of troubling trends and statistics. U.S. public diplomacy has failed to dispel rising anti-Americanism around the world. In a 2008 Pew Global Attitudes survey, for instance, support for the United States was down an average of 25 percentage points between 2000 and 2008 in 12 of 15 countries polled. … During the 1990s … U.S. spending on international affairs was reduced by approximately 30 percent in real dollar terms. The two core State Department competencies of public diplomacy and international development aid were hit especially hard: The U.S. Information Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development saw their staffs cut by 24 percent and 40 percent, respectively."
Convoluted entities are the future of public diplomacy - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: Re the Keith Reinhard/Parag Khanna proposal that “We need a nimble new tech-savvy, nonprofit organization that more readily can combine public- and private-sector expertise and resources in areas such as new media and state-of-the-art communications," Ellliot writes: “The entity is ‘outside the State Department’ but will ‘support U.S. public diplomacy.’ The entity must therefore always be on message. Audiences abroad will be confused as to which entity speaks for the U.S. government, and which entity can claim to be independent of it."
Being Invisible 2.0
– Marc Lynch, ForeignPolicy.com: “In a major speech at the beginning of December outlining his vision for 'Public Diplomacy 2.0' Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy James Glassman argued that 'in the war of ideas, our core task... is to create an environment hostile to violent extremism.' Israel's war on Gaza has done quite the opposite. It has unleashed a tsunami of outrage in the Arab world, with every Arab and Islamist trend jockeying for position in the rapidly reshaping landscape. … To my eye, at least, American public diplomacy has been virtually invisible in this crisis. … Perhaps there is activity in the much-hyped 'Public Diplomacy 2.0' realm -- Facebook pages, engagement with youth groups or whatnot (the sort of stuff Israel and supporters of the Palestinians are doing aggressively)-- but if so it has singularly failed to catch my eye in my daily tracking of Arab media old and new. The absence of public diplomacy and effective engagement in the evolving arguments in the Arab and Islamic worlds over Gaza is only a symptom of that larger problem. … Policy comes first, and throughout most of the crisis the U.S. has had no evident policy to defend before Arab and Muslim publics."
Embracing Web 2.0 in the Gov PR Space - Inspire Action: “At a time when it is critical for information to flow quickly and for issues to be discussed in a timely manner, it is also time for the Federal Government to think in a new way about communication and to see that, while there may be risk in delivering information quickly over the Web 2.0 space, the positives surely outweigh the negatives when it comes to the results of playing in this brave new world.”
E-Solutions 4 E-verybody - William Hanff, Randomness & Connections:
“[From:] the random and unedited notes that I made during the Google/New America Foundations 'Wiki Whitehouse e-Government' conference and seminar: http://www.newamerica.net/events/2008/wiki_white_house ... Technocratic Meritocracy! Public Diplomacy. What is the role of comment posts as the new 4th estate for the post-literate age? How literate will the post-literate information era be? (education for new masses?) Or bury dissent in a sea of unorganized information?”
Tech-Savvy Terror – Greg Bruno, Daily Analysis, Council on Foreign Relations: [W]hile tools like biometric tracking devices, electronic bomb sniffers, and optical scanners have made Western publics safer (Popular Science), the best way for authorities to gain the upper hand, [a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, Bruce] Hoffman adds, will be to invest more resources in public diplomacy--and out-message a tech-savvy messenger.”
A Bit Of A Disconnect – Tim Fernholz, American Prospect: “Here's some of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement … ‘The goal of any ceasefire must be more than a return to the status quo; it must be a positive and measurable step toward a final, just resolution of the differences between Palestinians and Israelis.’ … This resolution is, of course, a meaningless gesture with more of an eye towards domestic politics than foreign. But an unqualified support for an operation that raises doubts among friends of Israel both within that country and outside will be noticed around the world, and is poor, poor excuse for public diplomacy."
Cancel TV and Radio Martí, he writes - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “Shortwave, because of its natural resistance to jamming, remains the best bet for getting uncensored news into Cuba. However, satellite television (to illegal satellite dishes) and the internet are becoming more viable for this purpose.”
Signing Ceremony for the United States and Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership - U.S. Department of State: “Secretary Condoleezza Rice Remarks With Georgian Foreign Affairs Minister Grigol Vashadze in the Treaty Room. Washington, DC. January 9, 2009: SECRETARY RICE: ‘Good morning. I am very pleased to welcome here my colleague, Georgian Foreign Minister Vashadze, to sign the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership. Georgia is a very important partner of the United States, a valued partner. Our relationships rest, of course, on shared values of democracy, on security, on economic prosperity. And this Charter underscores the principles and outlines a way to advance our relationship and our cooperation in defense, trade, energy security, strengthening democratic institutions, people-to-people contacts, and cultural exchanges.’"
US Embassy invites young people to participate in cultural video contest - Malta Independent: “The US Department of State’s online video contest ‘My Culture + Your Culture = ? – Share your Story’ is inviting people all over the world, ages 14 and older, to submit videos to address the theme of cultural sharing. … Members of the ExchangesConnect international social network community will rate the videos and the top 40 video entries will be chosen based on this rating and the number of times the videos are viewed.
A prestigious panel of judges, including actress and Public Diplomacy Envoy Fran Drescher … will choose two international winners.”
Europe and the European Union Are Not One and the Same - Sally McNamara, WebMemo #219, Heritage Foundation: “Favorable opinion toward the United States [in the U.K.] has dropped from 83 percent in 1999-2000 to 56 percent in 2006 to just 51 percent in 2007. Through public diplomacy and high-level visits, the new Administration should invest significant political capital in the Special Relationship and put forward a strong public case for demonstrating the effectiveness and substantial value of close British-American cooperation.”
Schooling The Money "Experts" – CBS News: “During the election, 'Dow 36,000’ author Kevin Hassett was John McCain's senior economic advisor. His co-author, James Glassman, has been serving in the Bush Administration as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.”
Media Matters: Cloudy skies over Gaza - Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, Jerusalem Post: “Quantitatively, Israel is at an information-dissemination disadvantage by virtue of its small size and that of the sum of its supporters worldwide. This is not new, nor is it the main problem. Public diplomacy on the part of people unwilling to lie in order to convey a message simply has to be heavier on the brains than on the brawn. It's a challenge, to be sure, but one that is as accepted as it is assumed. It's the qualitative predicament that presents the larger quandary. As a democracy with a free press - and a foreign one greeted with a welcome mat and red-carpet treatment - Israel is like an open book. This means that it has many editors and even more critics. We wouldn't have it any other way. But neither would those who don't have its best interests at heart.“
BBC fights Iranian propaganda with anti-VOA propaganda - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Sir Lunchalot - The Language Business: “Some weeks later I heard that Lord Carter of Coles was conducting a review of British ‘public diplomacy’ – a concept involving the British Council …. I think that the British Council have for years got away with the manifest nonsense of the idea that ‘revenue-earning operations’ do not benefit from ‘grant-funded activities’ mainly because the NAO [National Audit Office] have agreed to go along with this absurdity.”
Text of PM’s address to seminar on democracy in Pakistan – Associated Press off Pakistan: “[From] the address of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at a seminar on ‘Democracy in Pakistan: New challenges and opportunities’ held at Prime Minister Secretariat on Friday … . ‘At the end, may I again thank the organizers and our honourable guests for the opportunity to share my views. I hope that in order to promote public diplomacy similar events would also be arranged in the future with the larger participation of our foreign friends.’”
Managing a most menacing situation for Pakistan - International Relation Articles: “Considering the menacing situation, it is important for Pakistan to: … although belated, mount a sharp and shrewd diplomatic campaign (also using public diplomacy) in all the major countries of the world.”
Government Infiltrat[e]s The News and Internet - Fighting for Freedom: “In the 1980s, officers from the 4th Army PSYOPS group staffed the National Security Council’s Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD), a shadowy government propaganda agency that planted stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration’s Central America policies. A senior US official described OPD as a 'vast psychological warfare operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy territory.' (Miami Herald, 7/19/87)”
Partnership Spotlight Series: Creating the Baseline Assessment of Breast Cancer Awareness and Care in the Palestinian Territories – Partnership Blog: “Sean Lena, ICF International. Mr. Lena works for Strategic Communications group of ICF and helps manage the US Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. He specializes in Public Diplomacy, Social Networking and New Media.”
The Government Heavily Manipulates Social Media - George Washington's Blog: The U.S. government long ago announced its intention to "fight the net". The government is targeting "social media," including popular user-ranked news sites. In addition, when you look at what the Israeli lobby has done with Megaphone software to automatically vote stories questioning Israel down and to send pro-Israel letters to politicians and media (see this, this, this and this), you can start to see how the U.S. military could substantially influence voting on social news sites with very little effort.
Twitter: From Britney to the Israel Consulate and back to the audience - Jenny Williams, Adventures of Online Media: Whilst professional journalists will be relied upon to produce quality news reports, which analyse information, the audience can no longer be a passive entity when it comes to consuming news. Just as the audience has become more active in communicating news and generating their own content, the audience now too has an active role and responsibility in considering the authenticity of user-generated content, which cannot be immediately be filtered.
Gaza media update for 8 January 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Citizen Propaganda in Contemporary Conflicts: The Case of Israel-Gaza, Russia-Georgia and China-Tibet - Gauravonomics Blog
Terrorists and the Internet - Eben Kaplan, Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations: Terrorists increasingly are using the Internet as a means of communication both with each other and the rest of the world. By now, nearly everyone has seen at least some images from propaganda videos published on terrorist sites and rebroadcast on the world's news networks. Western governments have intensified surveillance of such sites but their prosecution of site operators is hampered by concerns over civil liberties, the Internet's inherent anonymity, and other factors.
How Israel's Propaganda Machine Works - James Zogby, Huffington Post: 1) Define the terms of debate, and you win the debate. 2) Recognize that stereotypes work. 3) Anticipate and count on your opponent's blunders. 4) Be everywhere, and say the same thing -- and make sure your opponents remain as invisible as possible. 5) Give no ground. 6) Deny, deny, deny. 7) The last refuge.... When all else fails, point to a few examples of outrageous anti-Semitism, generalize them, suggesting that that is what motivates critics. It stings, and may be over-used, but it can silence or put critics on the defensive.
Propaganda is still propaganda - Antony Loewenstein blog: Shameless pro-Israel hackery from Zionist activists online is little more than useless propaganda. Now that we know the Israeli Foreign Ministry is actively recruiting people to tell a “pro-Israel” line in the media, why should the world believe anything they ever say?
Propaganda – Hydra, narratives of suffering: While the list of its criminal actions in Gaza are growing by day, the Israeli military uploads fun little videos of its heroic and humane activities on Youtube. On its special page, you can watch how soldiers admit wounded children for health care, and how the brave pilots eliminate Hamas terrorists, and the terrorists only, using precision bombardments.
Propaganda Works Both Ways - Tim Stevens, ubiwar . conflict in n dimensions: “I’m as sick as the next person of the incessant politicking over Gaza, the gainsaying, the untruths, and the points-scoring - by both sides, I’m taking pains to point out; as far as I can tell, neither Hamas nor Israel give a crap about Gazans. What makes me sicker is the attempts of organisations like MEMRI to justify Israel’s actions with this sort of rubbish (bang goes my subscription, I suspect).”
Videos Expose Palestinian ‘Pallywood’ Propaganda - Bob McCarty Writes: Two videos published on YouTube yesterday will see little, if any, airtime on major news networks or cable news operations in the West. Why? Because they expose the “Pallywoood” propaganda efforts Palestinians and their sympathizers don’t want people in the West to see.
Hamas' war crimes: In Gaza, it targets Israeli citizens with rockets, then shields its fighters behind Palestinian civilians - Alan M. Dershowitz, Los Angeles Times: “Hamas knows that pictures are more powerful than words. That is probably why Israel has -- mistakenly in my view -- kept foreign journalists from entering the war zone.”
CNN Tricked Into Running Anti-Israel Propaganda? – Mary Katharine Ham, Weekly Standard: “[T]he last time Israel let Reuters, CNN, et al. into a war zone where it was trying to do business, it got an overwhelming amount of funny business in return. Anyone remember a dearth of Arab-street pathos and Muslim-world opinion from the coverage of the Lebanon war? Yeah, me neither. The Gaza offensive has, in fact, gotten much more balanced coverage than the '06 war on the whole. This is partly because of a concurrent IDF offensive online--in blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook--that effectively circumvented and balanced traditional media outlets that are hostile to Israel's efforts to defend itself.”
Crossroads in Gaza: Should Israel seek a diplomatic settlement, or accept Hamas's invitation to a bloodier battle? – Editorial, Washington Post: Hamas’s fighters want nothing more than to draw Israel into an even bigger and bloodier fight -- during which, Hamas calculates, Israeli forces will suffer heavy casualties, while the even bigger Palestinian losses will reap a propaganda windfall for Hamas across the Middle East and Europe. The Bush administration, which so far has done little more than support Israel's decisions throughout this crisis, should now be pressing it to settle.
Propaganda of Israel in the New York Times - As'ad, The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: The New York Times never quotes the propaganda claims of Hamas (which may be false of course, just as those propaganda claims of Israel are false) regarding its missiles, thereby judging that only the propaganda of one side is "fit to print."
Wartime program set at Massillon Museum - Canton Repository OH: On Jan. 25, in conjunction with the exhibition “The Greatest Generation,” professor Leslie Heaphy of Kent State University Stark Campus and the Massillon Museum staff will present a free program, “Wartime Art and Propaganda.”
The Anti-Semitism Canard: The American Peace Movement and Israel - Catherine Fenton, Counterpunch: “At this point, I feel that if you are happy to march against the United States, but feel comfortable accusing myself and others of ‘anti-Semitism’ if we protest Israel's foreign policy, then you must be anti-American.”
Obama Must Get Afghanistan Right - Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Nation/Common Dreams: The point of withdrawal from Afghanistan is not to abandon the country, but to take a different approach to targeted aid, smart diplomacy, and intelligence cooperation.
We Can No Longer Afford the Empire – Ivan Eland, Antiwar.com: A soft landing for a declining empire is better than a hard one. Unfortunately, Obama seems captive to the liberal wing of the interventionist foreign policy establishment, just as George W. Bush was ensnared by the right wing of that same militaristic consensus.
Among top U.S. fears: A failed Mexican state - Bernd Debusmann, International Herald Tribune
Obama to Maintain Practice of Naming Donors to Ambassador Posts - Hans Nichols, Bloomberg.com
Shanghai Disneyland closer to reality: Walt Disney Co. reports progress in its plans for a theme park in China, and local anticipation is building - Dawn C. Chmielewski and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
UPDATE: Condoleezza Rice Still Secretary of State - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: PHOTO: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) and Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze shake hands after signing a bilateral cooperation agreement at the State Department in Washington. The United States and Georgia signed a strategic partnership accord here Friday in a reaffirmation of US support for Georgia's sovereignty after its war with Russia in August. (AFP/Nicholas Kamm).
COMMENT: “Aw. Part of me is going to miss having Condi at Foggy Bottom, but most of me feels that by now I've seen her complete repertoire. What's sad is that her raw ability to do something surprising or entertaining right this very moment is at an all-time high, but the likelihood of such happening is at an all-time low. … Let Condi be... Somebody Else! Anybody Else!”
From Vanity Fair