Monday, July 20, 2009
“If Hollywood and Bollywood were how we all lived our lives, that would surprise me."
--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking in India; image from
Clinton Touts Prospects for Better India Ties: In India, the secretary of state engages in what she calls public diplomacy to argue that Americans have more in common with people around the globe than is often suggested – AP, Fox News
A Clinton Moment: the Naked Truth about Americans – Robert Burns, AP: "Americans as naked gladiators? Indians as blissful beauties? Those were the images - exaggerated a bit for dramatic effect - that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton evoked Monday in a question-and-answer session with university students who probed her thinking on a range of topics - some personal. It was a classic Clinton moment, engaging in what she calls public diplomacy to argue that Americans have more in common with people around the globe than is often suggested. She blamed the media - not just the news but also entertainment - for distortions." Image from
Behind the Scenes With Clinton in India - Glenn Kessler, Washington Post: "MUMBAI, India--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton began her three-day trip to India on Saturday with a burst of public diplomacy, but her meeting with a group of poor women left some residents here cold. Indian newspapers described how local police gave no advance notice before barring residents of an upscale neighborhood from returning to their homes during Clinton's 90-minute visit to a shop maintained by the Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA). Traffic also was blocked at a normally busy intersection, and parked cars were towed to make room for a 20-foot-wide red carpet."
Indian Public Diplomacy - Time to be assertive? - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "With power comes responsibility. India's public diplomacy will have to be geared towards serving country's strategic interests and not just present a 'fluffed up' image of the country. The US has done it very successfully by 'owning' the 'themes' of freedom and democracy and using these in all their communications to advance national interests." Image from
Comment - Ted Lipien, posted on Comments Section, July 18, Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review: [A response to: "Heritage blog criticizes VOA's 'internet-only approach,'" Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy]: "Ted Lipien said... Kim Andrew Elliot does not fully understand and consistently misinterprets my arguments in favor of producing live VOA radio and television broadcasts to Russia.
He seems to assume that it is all about low-tech short-wave radio transmissions -- which may still be necessary in case of a catastrophic international crisis and for that reason should be maintained at some low level -- when in fact satellite radio and TV are needed because (1)they provide news content, which the Web-only approach will not generate; (2)provide programs, which can be placed on local stations if and when human rights and media situation improves (President Obama seems to think that he can make it happen); (3)provide substantive news content, which can be placed on the Web and shared secretly with independent media outlets if human rights and media situation in Russia does not improve (which seems likely, at least in the short run); (4)VOA is only reaching about 0.2% of the Russian audience annually using the Internet (Mr. Elliott should know this) and that even very limited radio and TV placement, even broadcast placement done secretly, can generate a larger audience; (5)the Internet-only approach under the BBG rules tends to result in entertainment-oriented soft journalism; (6)killing VOA radio and TV grants victory to Mr. Putin and other enemies of media freedom and deprives USG of a bargaining position in demanding the lifting of media restrictions in Russia and equal treatment of VOA in Russia and the Russian official broadcaster Russia Today in the U.S.; (7)even now it may be possible to negotiate placement of a joint VOA-Russian live TV or radio discussion program on serious political issues if VOA would still have the expertise and ability to produce such live programs; (8)the majority of people in Russia still don't have access to the Internet and many live in remote areas; (9)it's simply wrong to assume that because the FSB has not yet blocked the VOA website it will not do so in the future if there is a crisis in U.S.-Russian relations Mr. Elliott
is also wrong that there is no need for RFE/RL broadcasting. If fact, the current media restrictions in Russia suggest that RFE/RL is still needed for producing news about the internal situation in Russia, which Washington-based VOA journalists are not fully prepared to do. There is a problem, however, in that many RFE/RL reporters are now based in Russia and subject to intimidation and threats from the Russian secret police.Mr. Elliott is right about one thing. There is no need for two sets of broadcasting bureaucracies, so perhaps VOA and RFE/RL and all the other so-called 'private broadcasting entities' under the BBG should be combined into one lean U.S. international broadcasting news operation. This would save U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.Ted LipienFreeMediaOnline.org" Lipien image (top) from; Elliott image from
Smart power - Climate change: One chart, two opinions - Linda Locke, University City, letter to the editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "As America considers how to repair its reputation in the world, Congress has been considering how to fund foreign affairs. Investment in public diplomacy can be a powerful tool to change minds. This month, history was made when the House approved $450 million in funding for the Peace Corps.
There are dozens more countries asking for volunteers than the current budget can supply, and only through increased funding can the Peace Corps scale up to meet the demand and continue its important mission." Image from
Egypt Launched Cooperation to Boost Rice Production - D-8 Secretariat, Agriculture Energy Meetings News: "Institutional development, capacity building, marketing and public diplomacy for food security cooperation are important for the Developing Eight (D-8) Organisation for Economic Cooperation member countries."
Cronkite’s Unintended Legacy – Robert Parry, Consortium News: "[I]n 1981, just as right-wing Republican Ronald Reagan took control in Washington, Cronkite retired as the CBS Evening News anchor at the age of 64. He soon found himself excluded from any significant role at the network he helped build. Then, backed by the Reagan administration’s tough-minded 'public diplomacy' teams, the Right ramped up the pressure on Washington news bureaus to rein in or get rid of troublesome journalists – achieving that goal with a stunning measure of success."
Round up – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Friday I ran into Prof. Gilboa, who is back at USC to teach the CPD summer institute. We caught up and he is interested in working on paper focused on Qatar's public diplomacy. ... Saturday was a good meeting with pub d friends about how our pub d organization is going to save the world and win a Nobel Peace Prize.
Simple stuff, I assure you.” Image from
The Sovietizing of American War Propaganda - William Grigg, The LRC Blog: “One of our American guests is missing.” That is the Pashtun-language caption to a leaflet air-dropped by U.S. forces onto villages near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. The leaflets, which request help in finding a U.S. soldier who was captured by Taliban forces in June, depict another American soldier sitting on the ground chatting amicably with a group of Afghan children.
This is a particularly nauseating specimen of a familiar propaganda trope: “The foreign soldier is your best and truest friend!” It was used by the occupation forces of the Nazis and the Soviets, and memorably satirized in the campy (but occasionally perceptive) 1980s science fiction mini-series V (a remake is scheduled for this fall), in which an alien army of occupation insisted on being called the “Visitors” — which isn’t much different from American invaders of Afghanistan referring to themselves as “guests.” Think of it for a second: If a gang invaded your home, set fire to several rooms, killed several of your family members, and then decided to stay for a while, would you refer to such people as “guests”? Image -- "We are liberating Europe from the chains of fascist slavery" -- from
Taliban Releases Propaganda Video of Captured U.S. Soldier – Sparks From The Anvil: The identity of the soldier captured earlier this month by the Taliban has been released, following a new propaganda video. It's against international law to use and humiliate captured soldiers for propaganda purposes.
Was Taliban video of captured US soldier broadcast on Al Jazeera? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
The Use of Photographs as Propaganda - emptywheel: “I'm sorry the Taliban used his image [of a captured American soldier] for propaganda purposes. But until we stop doing the same--and appropriately deal with those … who have bragged of using detainee photos as propaganda (yes, I know they'll claim he was not entitled to Geneva Convention treatment
but there was a written policy allowing use of photos at the time), we don't have the moral standing to complain.” Image from
Hamas: Claim that World Jihad is in Gaza 'Israeli propaganda' - Ynetnews
After the violence, China hits Urumqi with propaganda blitz - AFP
Pretty Persuasion: Pumped Up Propaganda of the Past - Steve, weburbanist.com:
Propaganda, presented graphically as posters, pamphlets and pictorial artwork, aims to influence the attitudes of people to serve the purposes of the propagandists. Governmental guerrilla marketing in a sense, propaganda also has its good side: it can inspire and unite people behind a worthy cause. Here are 13 examples of propaganda showing it at its best, worst and purest.