"Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said."
--A headline in Tuesday's Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest selling daily newspaper, an intentional misspelling for "World Media"
Public Diplomacy & New Technologies – John Matel: World-Wide-Matel: “Initial use of the web for public diplomacy and strategic communications involved online versions of familiar delivery methods, such as magazines, radio and television. Despite vast differences among them, all these shared the paradigm of one-way communications, where a set message was delivered to a passive audience in a one speaker to many recipients model. It ignored the web’s special capacity for interaction. Web 2.0 refers to the way the web has changed the nature of communications, making it interactive, more fluid and less centrally organized. … It is the interrelatedness – the unexpected relationships – that makes the Internet such a wonderful and terrible place to do public affairs. … [W]eb 2.0 has as much or more capacity to puncture and disassemble public diplomacy messages as it does to deliver them. The shorter the attention spans media, the more likely this is to be the case. Twitter with its 140 character limit is a good example. … We seek the right MIX of technologies, not the right ONE technology. There is no silver bullet or Holy Grail of communications. It is easy to be beguiled by the new or the latest big thing, but technology is not communication and the medium is not the message. It is only the method.“ PHOTO (LEFT): John Matel.
Government 2.0: How Social Media Could Transform Gov PR - Mark Drapeau, MediaShift, CA: “Some criticize the use of social technologies in areas like national security and foreign relations, but I feel strongly that decision-makers cannot make informed choices about this until they or their staffs have personally had experience with this technology.
And some senior officials, such as Colleen Graffy, the current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, are bravely taking the plunge. … While governments certainly face challenges in using social tools, the pros of using these tools far outweigh the cons. Social technologies can make networking and engagement with the public simple and powerful, make research faster, identify influencers in useful micro-niches, provide mechanisms for combating negative publicity, and measure public sentiment to help inform public policy.”
Public Diplomacy: DIY Diplomacy - Defencedebates’s Weblog: “Diplomacy isn’t just an activity civil servants engage in. The average American (gasp!) can be a diplomat too. Whether it’s going the extra mile to be nice to foreigners you meet on the street, or trying your hardest to be a well-behaved international tourist, Americans themselves can together help to polish the US tarnished image abroad.
One organization dedicated to this type of activity, called 'citizen diplomacy,' is the Des Moines, Iowa-based-U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy. They have recently published a list of 10 things you and I can do to support the US’ public diplomacy efforts.”
The Counterinsurgency Field Manual: Afghanistan Edition – Wings Over Iraq: “Small Wars Journal posted a link to a great article in Foreign Policy Magazine regarding COIN theory in Afghanistan … The article … brings up this gem of counter-insurgency thinking that I actually wrote about in Small Wars Journal back in October regarding risk aversion within the military and diplomatic corps, the design of embassies, and public diplomacy.”
Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds report to release January 29 – Josh Fouts, DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age: “After a year of research spanning four continents and interviews with dozens of people across the virtual world of the Internet Dancing Ink Productions is pleased to announce the release of our findings from the Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project on Thursday, January 29 at 6 PM Eastern at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Space is limited so please RSVP to attend the event.”
E-Conversations on Public Diplomacy & Wading into the Defense Conversation - Patrick Madden, Type, Talk & Transform World Peace: “I’ve become a quick fan of the blog Mountain Runner, a blog by Matt Armstrong on public diplomacy and strategic communication in the 21st century. It’s a very smart perspective on the discussion and I encourage you to follow the conversation. I’ve seen some very direct and thought-provoking comments to some of the posts. It’s available via RSS. Armstrong has organized the Smith-Mundt Symposium. ‘Smith-Mundt’ refers to the original 1948 legislation that formalized America’s promotion of international engagement through information, cultural and educational exchanges. It’s had a few amendments over the years and numerous interpretations, but the gathering hopes to spur some common ground on how best to proceed in the current global environment with a new resident at 1600 PA Ave. It has far-reaching implications for the sister cities network. I’ll be attending and write my thoughts afterward.” PHOTO: Karl Mundt.
Keith: From Making Change to Making Omnicom, Part Two – The Madison Avenue Journal: “We began yesterday with Part One of 'Keith: The Last Mad Man,' a five-part series covering the life, times and plans of Keith Reinhard. … Later in the week we expect you will be even more impressed when you learn about what Keith is doing now as president of the Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), the global organization which serves as the private sector connection for public diplomacy efforts by the US government.” PHOTO: Keith Reinhard at 29.
The United States Good Listeners Agency - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "‘Among five ‘myths’ of public diplomacy: ‘Myth 2: Everyone needs to get on the same page. A communications strategy is important. But reciprocity is at the heart of truly successful public diplomacy. We must listen as much as we transmit messages. A brass plaque reading 'Telling America's Story' adorned the building housing the US Information Agency until its oft-lamented demise in 1999. Perhaps it should have read, 'Telling America's Story Is Done Best by Good Listeners.'" -- Sherry L. Mueller, Christian Science Monitor, 5 January 2009. Elliott comment: Actually, that was the basic idea of the name of USIA being changed to International Communication Agency during the Carter administration. During that time, the ‘Telling America's Story’ plaque was removed from the front entrance. The Reagan administration restored the name U.S. Information Agency, and the plaque.”
VOA drops Ukrainian radio, Urdu shortwave - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
IDC students work to win media war - Jessica Freima, Jerusalem Post: “Many supporters of Israel have grown frustrated with hostile feedback posted to Web articles and on blogs since the start of Operation Cast Lead nine days ago. A group of Israeli students has decided to fight back. HelpUsWin.org is manned by social media experts and Israel activists around the clock, with the main 'situation room' based at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and sponsored by the Stand With Us education organization. Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. Students and volunteers have been monitoring and responding to social media Web sites worldwide in several languages, to mount a public diplomacy offensive for Israel on the Internet.”
Twitter, YouTube among the new propaganda tools of the battle in Gaza - Maya Baratz, VentureBeat:
“The use of online tools for political PR isn’t by any means new. And the concept of seeking out the relevant channels to reach a mass audience is as age-old as any means of public communication. Still, the way these channels (particularly those that fall into the social-media bucket) are being used reflects an apparent understanding in their inherent potential to breed a sense of transparency and accountability, which are critical to any successful PR push.”
Israeli Gov't Holds First Twitter Press Conference – Marketing Vox: “On Dec. 30, microblogging service Twitter hosted its first governmental press conference on behalf of Israel's Defense Forces — whose microblogging tag was @IsraelConsulate. Questions and answers were limited to 140 characters, the standard length of a Twitter message or ‘tweet.’ So even answers to the most complex questions — about which entire books have been written — had to be short and sweet, often colored with common text-messaging abbreviations.”
Radio Wrapper Report: Israel's Consulate uses Twitter for public diplomacy outreach - Lubetkin Broadcasting: "Attention Radio News Directors: Israel's Consulate General in New York conducted a 'citizens' press conference' using the microblogging/messaging website Twitter.com on December 30. Correspondent Steve Lubetkin interviewed David Saranga, Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Israeli Consulate, who organized the Twitter dialogue, for the CompuSchmooze podcast, available at http://www.compuschmooze.com/.
War 2.0, Propaganda 2.0 or Public Diplomacy 2.0: The Role of Internet and Mobile in Israel’s Gaza Strip Bombing - Gaurav Mishra, Gauravonomics Blog: “Update: Darren Krape’s Gaza Public Diplomacy wiki is a great resource on the use of social media tools in the Israel-Gaza conflict and I have updated the post with many sources pointed out by him.”
Gaza and other thoughts – burning bridges: “From Gaurav Mishra, a tight, comprehensive overview, complete with analysis of Israel’s use of digimedia applications as part of their public diplomacy. Gaurav sees through it, and makes me wonder - can governments successfully manipulate or influence audiences on Twitter or Facebook? If the guiding ethos of global public spheres is (or should be) transparency, then such efforts are fraught from the start; even if governments represent their policies accurately, they are likely to come in for a beating from opponents.”
Israel's Risk - Chris Meserole, Huffington Post: “Israeli appeals to human rights will sound hollow at best and duplicitous at worst. Invariably, the end result will be the continued erosion of popular support for both Israeli sovereignty and the international order that guarantees it. Unfortunately, Israel's incursion into Gaza has only accelerated this cycle. Despite the best efforts of Israel's next generation press team -- replete with YouTube Channel, Twitter account, and even embedded scholar-soldiers -- the live news feed from Ramattan is currently winning out.”
How Propaganda Hijacked Israeli Strategy in Gaza - David H. Young, Huffington Post: ”[W]hile propaganda usually serves as a tool to support a nuanced and methodical military operation, Cast Lead seems to have been launched by a simplistic caricature of Israeli self-defense itself, blossoming in the foreign ministry's press releases. Talking points are being confused with chokepoints, and with a caricature calling the shots, it's no wonder that what seems to pass for ‘strategy’ is actually just a target list mixed with a little cloak and dagger.”
Israel waging battle to control information - Ethan Bronner, International Herald Tribune: “Like all wars, this one is partly about public relations. But unlike any war in Israel's history, in this one, the government is seeking to control entirely the message and narrative for reasons both of politics and military strategy. ‘This is the result of what happened in the 2006 Lebanon War against Hezbollah,’ noted Nachman Shai, a former army spokesman who is writing a doctoral dissertation on Israel's public diplomacy. ‘Then, the media were everywhere. Their cameras and tapes picked up discussions between commanders. People talked on live television. It helped the enemy and confused and destabilized the home front. Today Israel is trying to control the information much more closely.’"
The Politics And Propaganda of the US-Israeli War On Gaza - Max Kantar, Countercurrents: "Baseless presuppositions and propaganda about Palestinian rejectionism and Israel's ‘moral [scrupulousness]’ aside Israel is savagely massacring hundreds of Palestinians with American weaponry for a reason as old as dirt, ‘the naked desire for hegemony; for power over the weak,’ to guarantee that there will be no peace that recognizes Palestinian rights as equal to Jewish rights."
Online propaganda war escalates - MX Logic, CO: “More than 10,000 websites have been defaced or compromised by hackers in an effort to show their pro-Palestinian support during the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict.Though the campaign to attack websites with anti-Israeli and anti-American messages was first reported last week, the number of infected sites has significantly increased since the weekend, including some high-profile Israel-based sites, SCMagazineus.com reports.”
Israel/Gaza Cyberwar and Parallels to Abu Ghraib – Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion: “Propaganda and counter-propaganda are nothing new, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry is taking a direct role in manipulating Western media on Gaza. But hacking and denial of service attacks have their own dynamics that will change the way the game is played.”
The EU Propaganda Machine - Doug Bandow, openmarket.org: “Government propaganda is always irritating, especially because that means politicians are taxing citizens to pay for a snow job for those same citizens. The European Union is no different than the U.S. in this regard. The group Open Europe has published a new study detailing EU propaganda efforts.”
Is the only risk wanting to stay? – Felipe Estafan, Colombia Reports: “Colombia recognized the importance of nation branding in the mid 1990s when it consulted marketing specialist David Lightle seeking to create a campaign to improve the country’s image. … The idea that Colombia would make an overt attempt to brand itself is quite a positive sign of the nation’s recognition of the importance of public diplomacy. …The idea of promoting tourism and of using strategic nation branding must be applauded, but those same efforts must also be judged on their ability to effectively represent Colombia and its interests around the world.”
Hugo Chavez Suspends Oil Aid Program to U.S. Poor - Matthew Vadum, Capital Research Center: “One happy side effect of falling oil prices is the fact that Venezuela’s leftist strongman Hugo Chavez can’t afford to maintain his ‘public diplomacy’ program in the U.S. Citizens Energy Corp. boss Joe Kennedy announced that Venezuela-owned CITGO has suspended its program that gave poor Americans cheap home heating oil.”
Taiwan civic movement cannot neglect security - Taiwan News: “Together with the TSU [Taiwan Solidarity Union] and concerned non-governmental organizations through an extension of the "Civic National Affairs Council" process, the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] should also meld consensus measures to respond to these and other threats to Taiwan's sovereignty, national security and international position posed by the Ma administration's acceptance of the PRC's hegemonic umbrella through a coordinated international communication and public diplomacy effort.”
American and Muslim Women Working Together - Hiam Nawas, mediaforfreedom.com: "During her visit to the Middle East in September, Karen Hughes, [former] undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, raised the issue of women in almost every Muslim country that she visited. This effort was not well received in some circles.
Many Muslims, including Muslim women, apparently felt that Ms. Hughes was there to lecture them on how to treat women the 'American way'. They accused Ms. Hughes of not understanding the Muslim world and the values that its people espouse." SATIRE: Karen Hughes.
Gaza media update for 5 January 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Mideast political conundrum - Ziad J. Asali, Washington Times: The fundamental conundrum is that the Palestinians and Israel cannot completely bridge the gaps that separate them on their own. To achieve an agreement, both parties require an outside intervention, and that can only come from the United States.
Incursion Into Gaza – Editorial, New York Times: Israel, aided by the United States, Europe and moderate Arab states, must try to end this conflict as soon as possible and in a way that increases the chances for negotiating a broad regional peace.
The U.S.-Backed War on Gaza: The Silent Partner - Larry Everest, CounterPunch: This war is part of a broader U.S.-Israeli effort to roll back regional gains by Islamist forces, especially Iran, which is a large, relatively powerful and coherent Islamic theocratic state with enormous energy resources and its own reactionary ambitions.
Who're the real Nazis?: Critics who decry Israeli actions and see genocidal intent have it backwards - Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times
Obama: Listen to Iraqi Opinion - Eric Stoner, Foreing Policy in Focus/Common Dreams: It would not be hard for the incoming administration to assuage the Iraqis' fear that the U.S. will not leave until it has opened up their country's vast oil reserves to foreign corporations.
With carrot, stick and patience in Afghanistan - Arthur Cyr, Washington Times: The incoming Obama administration has United Nations and G-8 as well as NATO support in Afghanistan, and should make the most of these collective resources.
The Afghan Quagmire - Bob Herbert, New York Times: If Mr. Obama does send more troops to Afghanistan, he should go on television and tell the American people, in the clearest possible language, what he is trying to achieve. He should spell out the mission’s goals, and lay out an exit strategy. He will owe that to the public because he will own the conflict at that point. It will be Barack Obama’s war.
Obama's North Korean challenge – Editorial, Washington Times: There is one issue on which Mr. Obama would do well to clarify his policy: ballistic missile defense - an essential component of any policy aimed at deterring Pyongyang from staging a nuclear and/or ballistic missile attack.
The American Century isn't over:
America is still uniquely valued around the world – and Barack Obama can build on that - Robert Dujarric and Andy Zelleke, Christian Science Monitor: Rebuilding a stable basis for American global leadership will of course require, among other things, changes in policy and strategy that restore the complex balance between diplomacy and force, and between consensus and coercion, so recklessly discarded during the Bush years.