Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"The best the United States can do is to fight propaganda with non-propaganda, i.e. the credible information that causes propaganda to wither."
--Kim Andrew Elliott, commenting on Taliban propaganda; image from
On Propaganda Wars - informationdissemination.net: "This video appears to originate from MEK (but credit IranNTV).
FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Foreign Service Journal, October 2010: "Is Anyone Listening? U.S. Government Funded International Broadcasting."
Articles: "Keeping America Connected: Challenges for the BBG," by Senator Richard G. Lugar. "Brought to You by the U.S. Government" (about a USAID television program in Afghanistan, "On the Road"), by Jeremiah Carew. "U.S. Funded Media and the 'Soft War' in Iran," by Robert McMahon. "America Calling: A 21st Century Model," by Kim Andrew Elliott.
Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy; Inaugural Issue, Fall 2010 By Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, Syracuse University: The mission of Exchange
is to provide a forum for scholars and practitioners of public diplomacy to share their research, experience, and insights in order to expand and advance the body of public diplomacy literature and analysis.
SITE OF INTEREST
War of words - Propaganda (Korean War)
The Pros and Cons of Citizen Diplomacy - Joseph F. Nye, Jr., International Herald Tribune: "The greater flexibility of nongovernmental organizations in using networks has given rise to what some call 'the new public diplomacy,' which is about building relationships with civil-society actors in other countries and about facilitating networks between nongovernmental parties at home and abroad. In this approach to public diplomacy, government policy is aimed at promoting and participating in, rather than controlling, such networks across borders. Indeed, too much government control, or even the appearance thereof, can undercut the credibility that such networks
are designed to engender. ... This gives rise to the paradox of using citizen diplomacy in a global information age — decentralization and diminished control may be central to the creation of soft power, but in an age where every phone is a camera and every computer is a photo shop, the obscure pastor of a small Florida church can also wreak havoc and destroy soft power by threatening to burn a Koran. ... As public diplomacy is done more by publics, both democratic and autocratic governments find themselves caught on different sides of a cleft stick. Citizen diplomacy is increasingly important, but far from easy in a global information age." Image: 1984 - Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
Ignoring The Facts: A Dangerous Habit - Alex Belida, VOA Newsblog: "A blogger named Javad Rad, writing on the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy blog, claimed the reason President Obama recently chose to give an interview to BBC Persian TV and not to VOA’s Persian News Network was audience size. Rad wrote: 'Obviously VOA has not been able to reach a sizable audience inside Iran.' Obviously? Hardly. This is simply untrue – and begs the question of whether Mr. Rad conducted any research whatsoever before writing. Because it wasn’t particularly difficult to ascertain that: According to a BBC news release earlier this year, 'BBC Persian has an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Iran.' And drawing on survey data compiled by InterMedia, VOA researchers estimate the VOA TV audience in Iran to be around 9 million. Even if this audience were only half as big as that estimate, it would still be higher than BBC 's own published estimate for their audience. Any chance of a correction, Mr. Rad?"
A Notable Quote on International Broadcasting - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog: "From Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors: 'It’s sometimes said that our international broadcasting is in a difficult position because by law and by tradition it’s tasked with two separate missions that might conflict: first of all, covering the news with the highest journalistic standards and secondly, being a part of America’s public diplomacy by accurately conveying its policies and values to the world.
Let me say to you, my fellow journalists, that I will stress and we will stress the primacy of the first of these missions, our mission of being credible journalists, because it is the best – in fact, it’s the only way to carry out the second mission. You can’t do it unless you’re credible and telling the truth, and in the end, the truth is on our side. Credibility is the key to all that we do.' Mr. Isaacson spoke last week in Washington at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe. The Broadcasting Board of Governors oversees VOA, RFE, Radio Free Asia, Radio/TV Marti, Radio Sawa, and Alhurra TV.'" Image from
Is It a White Elephant and a Costly Irrelevance? The trouble with Alhurra - Nehad Ismail, newsblaze.com: "Since its launch in 2004 Alhurra Satellite TV and its sister Radio Sawa have cost the American tax-payers more than 700 million US dollars. Alhurra's remit was to win hearts and minds in the Arab World. ... Alhurra needs a complete overhaul that must include structural and personnel changes. ... If Alhurra wants to be credible, if it wants to matter and if it wants Arab-speaking people to watch, it must get out of its comfort zone and calls a spade a spade. You just cannot run a satellite station in a competitive and crowded market by being too bland and too cautious."
Christian Caryl Named Head of RFE Washington Bureau - Press Release, RFE/RL: "Distinguished journalist Christian Caryl will lead RFE's efforts to step up news coverage from the nation's capital as he assumes the role of Chief Editor of RFE's Washington, D.C. bureau. Caryl is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy and the New York Review of Books and is a Senior Fellow at MIT's Center for International Studies.
He is also a former Contributing Editor at Newsweek. ... ABOUT RFE Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is an independent, international news and broadcast organization whose programs - radio, Internet and television - reach influential audiences in 21 countries such as Russia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. RFE/RL is funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)." Via CE
Why the U.S. Expo Pavilion Should Be Congratulated - Adrian Rimmer CEO, The Gold Standard Foundation, Huffington Post: "As climate change is a global issue, surely quality, not geography must be a primary consideration in determining which emissions reduction projects to support.
The Gold Standard Foundation congratulates the United States Pavilion in recognizing this criteria and purchasing its offsets accordingly." Image from
U.S. Embassy Kabul PAS Annual Program Statement - Government Grant from Department of State: "The U. S. Embassy Kabul Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U. S. Department of State is pleased to announce funding is available through the embassy's Public Diplomacy Grants program. Funding is available for projects that increase the scope, capacity, and participation of civil society in building up the media and communications sectors in Afghanistan, that serve to support and develop Afghan voices and new leaders capable of contradicting extremism, that support civil society and boost institutional capacity, and that Strengthen people-to-people ties to deepen the partnership between communities within Afghanistan and between Afghanistan and the United States."
Fly me to the moon - Doug Hissom, milwaukeenewsbuzz.com: "Topping the list of all Wisconsin legislators who had travel expenses paid for in 2009 was state Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison), who was elected in 2008 and is a former head of the state’s pro-choice group, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.
She disclosed receiving $8,618, which covered travel for her service as a 'nonprofit public diplomacy delegate' for the American Council of Young Political Leaders, according to her statement. The Council runs a variety of international study and exchange programs." Image from
We Don't Ride Around On Camels - The View from Israel: "Yuli Edelstein is a politican in the Likud Party of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In order to strengthen his political power base, Netanyahu created a new ministry for Edelstein. ... Edelstein crafted his own niche with the newly formed Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry. He was given new offices, staff, and a budget of a few million shekels a year to play with as he felt fit, without treading on the toes of his colleagues in the other ministries. Edelstein's office has produced a series of adverts, mainly in Hebrew but more recently in English, that shows a TV reporter explaining to his overseas audience that Israelis ride
around on camels. It is meant as a misconception of how people, who have no connection or accurate knowlewledge of our country, perceive Israel. However, by repeating the message that Israelis ride around on camels leaves the impression that we really do ride around on camels. Israelis who are departing from Ben Gurion Airport are given pamphlets so that they can become ambassadors for Israel when they go abroad. Edelstein's Public Diplomacy Ministry are trying to rebrand Israel. I have news for him. The brand, whatever it is, is not being adopted or accepted by the world. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have created a highly successful brand. Since 1967 they have repeated one message. Their land was stolen from them by the Zionists, who are occupying their land." Image from
Basic blunder of ‘branding’: Hiring American PR firm to brand Israel undignified, may make matters worse - Martin Sherman, ynetnews.com: "[A] recent press announcement [states] that the Israeli government has engaged the services of the prestigious SS+K corporation - for a fee of a quarter of a million dollars - to advise on how the nation-state of the Jewish people should 'brand' itself to improve its standing abroad. ... 'Branding' is merely an attempt to evade engaging the real difficulties in the struggle for the hearts and minds of those who determine the tenor of international public opinion. This is not to say that 'branding' has no place in a comprehensive strategic blueprint for Israel's public-diplomacy. However, its role will be of a secondary, auxiliary nature rather than a major component. Branding is not a measure that can contend with adversarial Nobel Prize laureates such as Mairead Maguire and Desmond Tutu, hostile intellectuals and journalists such as Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk or biased organizations such as UNHRC (that begot the Goldstone Report) or the Global BDS (that promotes economic cultural, academic boycott against Israel.)
It is these individuals and groups - and others of their ilk - that influence international attitudes toward Israel, and not the typical target audiences of branding campaigns, such as the politically indifferent consumer contemplating whether to vacation in Tenerife, Tangiers or Tel Aviv." Image from
"Missing Peace", a new initiative that will save Israel "demonization and delegitimation" - Abu Pessoptimist: [Google translation:] "In Israel itself, since the appearance of the Goldstone report worked feverishly to change in public diplomacy. Dat heeft geleid tot ongekende vormen van samenwerking tussen allerlei pro Israël organisaties en de Israëlische overheid.Missing Peace is één van de initiatieven die voortkwam uit deze samenwerking, en beoogt herziening van de public diplomacy voor Israël in Europa. This has led to unprecedented cooperation between various forms of pro-Israel organizations and the Israeli Peace overheid.Missing is one of the initiatives that emerged from this collaboration, and seeks review of public diplomacy for Israel in Europe. Het Israëlische bureau dat werd opgericht door ex-Nederlanders, werkt aan verbetering van de informatie voorziening over het Midden Oosten in landen zoals Nederland. The Israeli agency that was founded by ex-Dutch, working to improve the information given on the Middle East in countries like the Netherlands. Missing Peace doet onderzoek naar gebeurtenissen die van invloed zijn op de meningsvorming over Israël in Europa. Missing Peace is investigating events which affect public opinion on Israel in Europe. Onvolledige rapportage over het Arabisch Israëlische conflict wordt door Missing Peace onderzocht en waar nodig aangevuld met de ontbrekende informatie."
"Soft power" russe : discours, outils, impacts - theatrum-belli.com: [From: Russie.Nei.Reports no 5:]
"En investissant dans les outils du « soft power » et de la « public diplomacy », la Russie souhaite, d'une part, améliorer son image internationale et, d'autre part, maintenir son rôle de puissance intégratrice centrale dans la zone postsoviétique. Cependant, cet effort de « soft power » n'a pas empêché un raidissement de la politique étrangère russe, qui s'exprime par le recours à la contrainte et à la force avec trois points d'orgue : les crises gazières avec l'Ukraine (en janvier 2006 et 2009) et la guerre en Géorgie en août 2008. En outre, le message que la Russie envoie aujourd'hui à l'extérieur est brouillé : ainsi, tout en se réclamant de l'identité européenne, elle joue la carte de la spécificité de son développement et de ses valeurs. Le « soft power » suppose non seulement une politique active et un dispositif efficace, mais surtout une capacité d'attraction qui fait toujours défaut à la Russie. En l'absence d'un modèle attractif, le « soft power » russe continuera à susciter de la méfiance chez les partenaires de la Russie, surtout dans les pays de la CEI". Image from article.
What is the BBC World Service for? The most elegant solution would be for the World Service to be shorn of its government connection and incorporated into the mainstream BBC - Mary Dejevsky, Independent. See also (1) (2) (3) (4)
This is How You Do Public Diplomacy - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "My friend, PD colleague and all-around super-fun guy, Paul, passed me an invitation to attend a dinner, last friday, at the residence of the Consul General of the Republic of Korea. Turns out, it was in celebration of Korea’s National Day,
so it was one epic, cultural diplomacy event: Minhwa art on display in the front yard, a bar featuring Korean beverages, live classical and contemporary folk music and dance and, of course, a heavy dose of Korea’s most successful PD campaign – some culinary diplomacy with a huge buffet by Hansik restaurant. They even managed to sneak in some political stuff: a video featuring Korea’s role in the upcoming G20 sum[m]it." Image from
When Smelly Met Stinky - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I finished my TFD paper on Taiwan's public diplomacy. 'Projecting Taiwan' will be making its appearance shortly. For now, it is happily in the hands of my moderator and discussant and I begin preparation for my presentation on Friday to discuss the paper and project."
Los doctores Garía González y Manfredi Sánchez presentan sus investigaciones en el II Congreso - news.university.ie.edu: "ABSTRACT.- 'Public diplomacy is a field of research and professional development for communication and political science. At the same time, the regions
have gradually increased his power in the political, administrative and decision-making, both in its internal activity and in its international one, particularly in the European Union. In this context, we find that public diplomacy requires an innovative communication process that addresses three key objectives. These main purposes are: improving regional brand; strengthening the identity; and the increasing influence as an actor. Under these assumptions, we analyze and compare Castilla Leon and Flanders, a consolidated reference case with a high level of ambition. Both present different problems and have solved their dilemmas according to particular strategies, which allows for meaningful conclusions'." Image from
Influence: Science and Practice (4th Edition) - Review by Robert D. Steele, Help with Asbestos Attorney Mesothelioma: "While intended for students of psychology and for practitioners of the black art of marketing (selling over-priced unnecessary 'stuff' to the unwitting), I regard this text as a very helpful reference for the new warriors, the practitoners of Information Operations and within that larger discipline, Strategic Communication & Public Diplomacy. The six 'principles' of influence, reciprocation, consistency, social proof (e.g. canned laughter), liking, authority, and scarcity, each receive their own chapter with ane[c]dotes and study questions."
Campus Calendar - Seattle University: "Title: U.S. Foreign Service Info Session Description: Thinking about a career in the US Foreign Service? The Office of Fellowship will be hosting Brooks A. Robinson, diplomat in residence at UC Berkeley, to talk about careers in the US Foreign Service. Please join us for an information session for students who would like to learn more about a career as a foreign service officer.
Robinson joined the Foreign Service in 1985 and holds the rank of Minister Counselor. She served most recently as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Liberia. Prior to that, she held public diplomacy positions at three posts in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, and Swaziland) and at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva. During assignments in Washington, D.C., Robinson served as a human resources officer and as the coordinator of educational and cultural programs for Africa." Image from
Sen. Scott Brown skips the Meridian Ball,but hits the Meridian VIP party - Christina Wilkie, thehill.com: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted approximately 100 people for dinner Thursday in the diplomatic reception rooms at the State Department to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Meridian International Center. ... During the Thursday night dinner, Meridian honored former Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley with the 2010 Meridian Public Diplomacy Award."
See also. Image: Elizabeth Bagley with her Public Diplomacy Award from the Meridian International Center.
Terror warnings: Be specific or be quiet - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: "Speaking as an American who lives in Europe, I feel it is incumbent upon me to describe what people like me do when we hear warnings like this one issued on Sunday: We do nothing. We do nothing, first and foremost, because there is nothing that we can do. Unless the State Department gets specific -- e.g., 'don't go to the Eiffel Tower tomorrow' -- information at that level of generality is meaningless."
America's assassination list: Wars and how we fight them are political decisions, properly left to Congress and the president, not the courts. So they must come up with clear, public rules on assassinating our enemies, starting the debate with Anwar Awlaki - Jonah Goldberg, latimes.com: According to any number of credible reports, the U.S.-born Awlaki is arguably the leading Al Qaeda propagandist in the world.
Communicating Their Own Story: Progress in the Afghan National Security Force - LTG William B. Caldwell, IV, MountainRunner.us: Today, America and her partners are engaged in a fight that is every bit as important as its earlier wars: ensuring that Afghanistan is secure, independent, and free of the forces that launched attacks on the people of the world on September 11, 2001.
It is a contest that requires painful sacrifices of blood and treasure but one that, if the lessons of history hold, can only be won on the information battlefield. Communication in this battle is not a combat enabler - something that makes it easier to fight - it is a large part of the greater war; indeed it may be the thing that ultimately decides the outcome of this war. Image from
Export of British television shows overseas rises by 9%: Survey for Pact reveals that sales of TV hits earned a record £1.34bn for the UK economy last year - Mark Sweney, Guardian: The appetite for British television shows overseas defied the recession last year with export sales up 9% year on year to smash the £1bn mark. Sales of hit UK series, such as Strictly Come Dancing, Wife Swap, Come Dine With Me, Spooks and MasterChef, to foreign broadcasters earned a record £1.34bn for the UK economy in 2009.
The UK television industry's main customer is still the US, where British formats including American Idol (from Pop Idol) and Dancing with the Stars – the US version of Strictly Come Dancing – continue to pull in massive audiences. Image from article: Paul Daniels and Ann Widdecombe in this year's Strictly Come Dancing.
China's Fifty Cent Party for Internet Propaganda - Usha Haley, Huffington Post: Chinese Internet users first coined the term "Fifty Cent Party" for undercover Internet commentators that the Chinese government paid to influence public opinion. Fifty cents refers to the alleged pay the Internet commentators received per post. Currently, the term describes anyone who actively and publicly posts opinions online that defend or support Chinese government policy. Party organizations train the fifty centers to safeguard the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) interests and to neutralize undesirable public opinion by pushing pro-Party views. Qualifications for a fifty center include the "need to possess relatively good political and professional qualities... have a pioneering and enterprising spirit... and [the ability] to react quickly."
N. Korea's jamming of GPS signals poses new threat: defense minister - yonhapnews.co.kr: South Korea's defense minister Kim Tae-young also said South Korea is preparing to launch a full-scale propaganda war against the North in response to any fresh provocations across the border.
The South's military printed hundreds of thousands of leaflets and set up loudspeakers along the border after Seoul accused Pyongyang of sinking a South Korean warship in March that killed 46 sailors. Image: Propaganda pamphlet showing North Korea dividing Korea with a knife, while UN forces try to put it back together again.
Nobel Laureate Loses Appeal Against Deportation From Israel - RTTNews: Israel's Court has rejected an appeal preferred by pro-Palestinian activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire against her deportation from the Jewish nation. Maguire is under detention at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport ever since she arrived there last Tuesday as part of a peace delegation to attend a conference along with five other Nobel Peace laureates. During the court hearing, Maguire urged Israel to stop its "apartheid policy and the siege on Gaza," warning that peace would come to the Jewish nation only when it "ends apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people." The judges responded to Maguire's remarks by asking her to keep "her propaganda to herself," and ruled that she was not eligible for legal assistance as she had arrived in Israel despite knowing that she was barred from entring the country for ten years.
Israel needs to Stop Playing the Victim - Joharah Baker, usa.mediamonitors.net: Once upon a time, Jews were victimized in the most horrible of ways. But that time has past and we Palestinians should not be made to take the blame.
Truth in the Time of Putinism: Kremlin critics fear assassination and kangaroo courts - Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker, Wall Street Journal (subscription): The truth is an increasingly scarce commodity in Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Music by Holocaust victims finally performed in concert - Dorie Turner, telegram.com: Many of the songs were written in Theresienstadt, a Czech town used as a Nazi propaganda tool where prisoners could stage operas, concerts and cabaret shows. The camp saw many Jewish leaders and prominent artists from all over Europe.
But some songs are from prisoners who had never before written music but felt the urge to create something beautiful among their horrific surroundings. Image from
Obama as Roman emperor -- the rise and fall of the propaganda master: President Barack Obama's campaign of images, emotions, and themes won him tremendous popularity – and the presidency. Now, his poll numbers are dragging, his followers disillusioned. To understand the 'ruler cult' cycle, we must look to ancient Roman emperors like Augustus - Jack Carlson, Christian Science Monitor: In the art of self-promotion through images, Obama's closest parallels lived long before the age of YouTube and the 24-hour news cycle. Rome's first emperor, Augustus (63 BC – AD 14), was a master of manipulating what “mass media” there was. Through the propagation of carefully crafted, semi-divine portrait types, vague but appealing buzzwords, and abstract association with heroes of the past, Augustus and his successors won the public's support. Augustus' fixed “portrait-type” was disseminated and recreated for public consumption across the empire in the form of statues, coins,
and other artworks. Archaeologist Paul Zanker's “Power of Images in the Age of Augustus” describes this contrived likeness as “a calm, elevated expression” marked by “a timeless and remote dignity” – not unlike the blue-and-red portrait type designed for Obama by guerrilla-marketer Shepard Fairey. Image from
New survey on sex in US, biggest since 1994 - David Crary, The Associated Press, Washington Post: Dr. Dennis Fortenberry, a pediatrics professor who was lead author of the study's section about teen sex, said the overall findings of such a huge survey should provide reassurance to Americans who are curious about how their sex lives compare with others. "Unless, like al-Qaida, you feel there's something abnormal about the American people, what these data say is, 'This is normal - everything in there is normal.'"
The study, which began taking shape in 2007, was funded by Church & Dwight Co., the manufacturer of Trojan condoms. Questions about condom usage figured prominently in the study, but the researchers - during a teleconference - insisted the integrity of their findings was not affected by the corporate tie. Image from article: In this April 20, 2005 file photo, student Marissa Manzi wears a condom costume at an AIDS Awareness Day rally outside the state Capitol in Hartford, Conn; see also, "Vatican: condoms don't stop Aids, Steve Bradshaw, The Guardian