Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14

--President Bush's last press conference; from

“These tools are frankly anathema to violent extremists."

--Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James Glassman, on the new media

“For those who like to watch buildings and other objects go up in smoke, the Israeli Air Force is posting short videos of the war on YouTube."

--Journalist Oakland Ross, writing in The Toronto Star


U.S. public diplomacy chief says Bush policies, not communication failures, responsible for Negative U.S. Image -Press Release, The American University in Cairo News: “The head of U.S. public diplomacy says Bush administration policies, not a failure to communicate America’s message, are responsible for negative attitudes toward the U.S. in the Muslim world. The comments from James Glassman, who steps down Friday from his post as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, came in a unique dialogue with Egyptian bloggers in The American University in Cairo’s new Virtual Newsroom in Second Life, an online interactive environment.

‘There is no doubt the views of the U.S. were influenced by the policies the U.S. adopted. Now is it a matter of us not explaining our policies well or people not liking what we are doing? I lean toward people don’t like what we are doing, but I do think we can do a better job of explaining our policies,’ Glassman, a Bush appointee, told the bloggers. … Glassman rejected criticism that his efforts to communicate U.S. policy on the Gaza crisis have been too focused on new media at the expense of mainstream news organizations. ‘We have certainly done what we can to have discussion about what’s happening, but sometimes the traditional kinds of techniques of PR, issuing press releases standing up and doing press conferences, I’m not so sure we have a lot of people listen to that,’ he told the bloggers." Link kindly provided by Larry Pintak.

The Smith-Mundt Symposium - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “The goal was to foster an interagency, inter-tribal, and cross-governmental discussion on the fundamentals of America’s global engagement. While the organizing principle was the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, it was really an act of subversion to have a discourse on shaping America’s discourse.

My desired outcome of the Symposium was not to generate new legislation, but to shake up the perceptions of what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why are doing it, ‘it’ being global engagement, known in some tribes as 'public diplomacy' and others as ‘strategic communication.’ I believe that mission was accomplished.“ PHOTO: Matt Armstrong

Twitter Tweets about financial crisis as of January 13, 2009, Bay Area REO: “dkrape: Dose of perspective, Congressional reps note hard for them to focus on public diplomacy during a massive financial crisis #smithmundt.”

Cancel TV and Radio Martí, they write (updated, corrected, and updated again) - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Background Note: Paraguay - Press Release, US Department of State: “The [State Department] Office of Public Diplomacy also is active in Paraguay, funding Fulbright and other scholarships to the U.S., U.S. scholars to Paraguay, other short- and long-term exchanges, English scholarship programs, donations of books and equipment, and a cultural preservation project to restore Paraguay's National Library.”

Will $6 billion solve the Chinese PR problem? – [James Fallows] CNN Showbiz: “My job is not to help Chinese organizations advance their intended causes. But it doesn’t help anybody … if China’s clumsy public diplomacy makes the country seem more menacing, opaque, hyper-controlled, and overall bad than it really is.”

On Western Liberties – Nick, Worlds Apart: “In a Newsweek article from last week, Adam B Kushner recounts that when Karen Hughes, Bush administration under secretary of state for public diplomacy, visited Saudi Arabia 'she was heckled by Saudi women

who resented her assumption that they wanted US-style freedoms'. … [T]hose who propose the adoption of 'US freedoms' or 'Western liberties' in places like Saudi Arabia are not, generally, most concerned with forcing others to be free, but preventing illiberal autocrats, oligarchies and communities from violating the basic rights of other members of their society.”


Israel activists blending new, traditional tactics in PR battleWar News: “As Israel takes to the Internet in search of innovative ways to make its case about Gaza to the world, Jews around the globe also are utilizing innovative methods -- and particularly new technological tools -- to explain what the Jewish state is facing as it acts to protect its southern flank from rocket fire. … ‘Since the definition of war has changed,

the definition of public diplomacy has to change as well,’ David Saranga, the media and public affairs consul in New York, told The New York Times.”

Israel wages PR battle as Gaza conflict rages: High-tech tools a key part of arsenal, while foreign media kept on tight leash - Oakland Ross, Toronto Star: The Israeli government has zealously sought to manage its message during the conflict, ensuring different government departments and agencies plug information leaks and speak from the same official page with a consistent voice -- a rare phenomenon in this quarrelsome land. But there are some aspects of this conflict even the steadiest of voices would be hard-pressed to illuminate in easily comprehensible terms.

Israel’s Propaganda War - Palestine Monitor: “Following its 2006 war with Lebanon, Israel decided that it needed to set up a Public Relations program to deal with hasbara- Hebrew for ‘explanation’, since the media coverage and death toll in that war -- over 1,000 Lebanese civilians, made Israel look ‘bad’. In other words, the ‘National Information Directorate’, created in 2008, deals with information, spin, and propaganda. This program has been put to use for the first time on a world-wide scale with the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Hamas Launches YouTube Style PaluTube To Spread Propaganda - The Inquisitr: “If intifada isn’t a dirty word in your neighborhood, Hamas has a website for you. Palutube, a YouTube knock-off has been set up to disseminate propaganda from inside the Gaza strip to the rest of the world. Videos includes footage of fighting, patriotic pro-Hamas songs, and praise of suicide bombers. The site is available in a number of languages, however most titles and footage are in Arabic. The war for the hearts and minds on the internet continues, with both sides targeting messages to the outside world.”

Israel's Free Ride Ends: As Israel pulverises Gaza, questions and doubts about Israeli policy are becoming more prominent in the American media - Michelle Goldberg, Guardian/UK/Common Dreams

The Drama of Reciprocal Self-Destruction - William Pfaff, Truthdig: The guarded remarks by Hillary Clinton on Tuesday have produced equally guarded hope that there will indeed be change in American Middle Eastern policy under an Obama administration. Such is tragically overdue, as the reciprocal self-destruction of Palestine and Israel continues in a bewildering and savage concatenation of decisions that have no rationally achievable purposes.

The White House Moron Stumbles to the Finish: The Humiliation of America - Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch: Israeli politicians have been bragging for decades about the control they exercise over the US government. In his final press conference, President Bush, deluded to the very end, said that the whole world respects America. In fact, when the world looks at America, what it sees is an Israeli colony.

Tom Friedman Offers a Perfect Definition of 'Terrorism'
- Glenn Greenwald, Common Dreams/Salon: Tom Friedman, one of the nation's leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel's wars, has a column today in The New York Times explaining and praising the Israeli attack on Gaza.

For the sake of robust and diverse debate (for which our Liberal Media is so well known), Friedman's column today appears alongside an Op-Ed from The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the nation's leading (and most deceitful) propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel's wars, who explains that Hamas is incorrigibly hateful and radical and cannot be negotiated with. One can hardly imagine a more compelling exhibit demonstrating the complete lack of accountability in the "journalism" profession. PHOTO: Thomas Friedman. BELOW IMAGE from Mother Jones.

Clinton's Pragmatism, Smart Power, Multilateralism Welcomed in Muslim World – Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

At the Confirmation Hearing, Hillary Treads Lightly on Afghanistan Question - Bruce Falconer, Mother Jones

To Hillary, with love: Hillary Clinton's Senate confirmation hearing to become Barack Obama's secretary of state turns into a group hug - Mike Madden, Salon

More Than a Good Feeling: Why are so many oligarchs, royal families, and special-interest groups giving money to the Clinton Foundation? - Christopher Hitchens, Slate:

Why is Sen. Clinton, the spouse of the great influence-peddler, being nominated in the first place? In exchange for giving the painful impression that our State Department will be an attractive destination for lobbyists and donors, what exactly are we getting? George Marshall? Dean Acheson? Even Madeleine Albright? No, we are getting a notoriously ambitious woman who made a fool of herself over Bosnia, at the time and during the recent campaign, and who otherwise has no command of foreign affairs except what she's picked up second-hand from an impeached ex-president, a disbarred lawyer, and a renter of the

Viagra: New secret CIA weapon - Editorial, Washington Times: Viagra, which has a good reputation in Afghan cities but is generally unavailable in the remote areas where the Taliban operate. Where knowledge of the libido-enhancing drug was limited, clandestine U.S. operatives provided education on the pill's potency for older tribal chieftains, who might have as many as four wives. The Post dispatch says the effort has had excellent success, and we'll leave it at that.

Turkish affright – Editorial, Boston Globe: American officials should be counseling Turkey's leaders to resolve their differences peaceably. There is trouble enough awaiting the new Obama team without a military putsch or civil war in Turkey.

China plans major global media expansion (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Growing North Korean audiences for foreign media - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Five ways Bush's policies changed world: The Iraq war dominated his presidency, but it isn't the only signature foreign-policy event of his tenure - Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor:

As much as Iraq dominated the Bush years, it is not the only signature foreign-policy event of the president's eight years in office. Foreign-policy and national-security experts cite four other top issues on which Bush administration decisions are likely to have an impact in coming years -- and that will contribute to his legacy. •The war on terror as the US response to the 9/11 attacks. •An inability to clamp the lid on the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.•The initiative to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and a shift in US foreign aid toward performance-based assistance. •Improved US relations with two other big powers -- China and India -- and testier relations with a third, Russia.


"The new top three [richest U.S. counties] are now Loudon County, Virginia; Fairfax County, Virginia; and Howard County, Maryland. All three are suburbs or exurbs of Washington, D.C. In 2000, 14 of the 100 richest counties were in the Washington, D.C., area. In 2007, it was nine of the richest 20.”


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