Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26

"We all do no end of feeling and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is public opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God."

--Mark Twain; image from


Tank - I Can't Make You Love Me [Official Music Video]: Proposed as "Theme song of U.S. public diplomacy in Pakistan" by pakistanpolicy Twitterer Arif Rafiq


Bureau of International Information Programs Coordinator Dawn L. McCall Travels July 25-29 to South Korea and Indonesia - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC: "Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) Coordinator Dawn L. McCall

travels this week to Seoul, South Korea and Jakarta, Indonesia to meet with social media researchers and senior Embassy officials to discuss social media trends, public opinion of the United States, and public diplomacy programs. In her first official visit to Seoul, Coordinator McCall will meet with cultural curators and academic experts to discuss IIP programs and products. She will also meet with representatives from the National Library of Korea. While in Jakarta, Coordinator McCall will inaugurate a series of focus groups at @america (http://www.atamerica.or.id/), a high tech public diplomacy outreach venue in a Jakarta shopping mall. These sessions will gauge the success of @america programs and better understand people’s experiences with this new and dynamic American space." McCall image from

US used Hiroshima to bolster support for nuclear power‎ - Ryuichi Kanari, Asahi Shimbun: "The private notes of the head of a U.S. cultural center in Hiroshima revealed that Washington targeted the city's residents with pro-nuclear propaganda in the mid-1950s after deciding a swing in their opinions was vital to promoting the use of civil nuclear power in Japan and across the world. The organizers of a U.S.-backed exhibition that toured 11 major Japanese cities from November 1955 to September 1957 initially considered opening the first exhibition in Hiroshima. According to the private papers of Abol Fazl Fotouhi, former president of the American Cultural Center in Hiroshima, the idea of choosing the city was proposed at a meeting of officials of the U.S. Information Service in December 1954. The proposal was dropped because officials were worried that it would link nuclear energy too closely with nuclear bombs. Tokyo was chosen to open the tour and three other cities were visited before the exhibition opened at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum,

which commemorates the 1945 bombing, on May 27, 1956. ... Yuka Tsuchiya, a professor of Ehime University and an expert on U.S. public diplomacy, said the U.S. government decided acceptance by Hiroshima residents of peaceful nuclear use would have a major impact on Japanese and world public opinion. A note, sent by a U.S. Embassy official to Washington in June 1955, said Hiroshima was 'the most challenging area of Japan for promoting peaceful use of nuclear energy.' Fotouhi, who was in charge of organizing the Hiroshima event, launched an intensive campaign to win over locals. ... On June 18, 1956, the day after the Hiroshima event closed, the U.S. Embassy in Japan reported to Washington that 120,000 visitors had attended over its three-week run." Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum image from

Ethiopian-Americans stage noisy rally at VOA, expressing their concerns re VOA Horn of Africa controversy - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "If VOA is a source of 'good news' -- presumably meaning good-quality news -- then it is very much a 'force for change, freedom and democracy.' Advocacy for freedom and democracy is also a commendable activity, but it and good journalism don't really mix. They should be done by separate organizations from separate buildings."

Top Secret Writers Owner to be Interviewed on Voice of Russia - Ryan Dube, topsecretwriters.com: "If you’ve never heard much about the

Voice of Russia – it is a new entity in DC and New York, but it is hardly new on the broadcast circuit. It has been around for many years, and went online since July 1996." Image from

Online public diplomacy: When September comes (Part 1) - oboler.com: "Modern public diplomacy has taken a new twist. This is a result of a change in media consumption from a one way broadcast medium to a two way dialogue. The result has been a shift from broadcasting to recruiting members of the public, or segments of civil society, to share your message indirectly. This can also be done by boosting the volume of existing fringe groups. ... More than the media, the battle ground today is online. ... Those pushing an agenda, on all sides are constantly seeking to break into these networks; to make your circle of friends share their content. ... There are also larger online public diplomacy projects, most run by experts, which are actively seeking to shape public opinion. Electronic Intifada is one of the best of these, and seems to only grow stronger each year. On our side, well established sites like my own Zionism On The Web, which have run voluntarily for years, are not updated as regularly as they should be. ... However you look at it, the Palestinian narrative is dominant online. They seem to have better resources, more professionals, and allies from the far right to the far left that promote their narrative. They also work well together, sharing resources, content, and campaigns. The Jewish community’s own way of operating is ill-suited to the online world and problems in the relationship between Israel and Diaspora exacerbate our difficulties."

Israeli deputy FM's "West Bank" video angers PNA - Xinhua: "Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon has released a narrated English- language video, 'The Truth About the West Bank,' that offers the Israeli government's point-of-view of the background and context of what he says are commonly misused terms about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. ... Ayalon,

considered one of Israel's most internet-savvy officials in utilizing YouTube and online social networking sites in order to make Israel's case directly to millions of viewers, contends that 'social media in general and YouTube in particular are major battlegrounds in the clash of narratives and public diplomacy.' The video quickly drew fire from the Palestinian National Authority, with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat terming it a 'cynical and falsified account of history and international law,' and called on Israel to explain its posting." Ayalon image from


The costly errors of America's wars: After ten years, $4tn and thousands of lives, the US needs an exit from the depressing impasse of its militarised foreign policy - Michael Shank, guardian.co.uk. Via LB

Has Obama embraced a ‘doctrine of restoration’? - Carlos Lozada, Washington Post: Restoration would refocus resources from international challenges to domestic ones.

The Arab Spring Is Still Alive: Our 'realists' also doubted democracy in Eastern Europe and South Africa - Matthew Kaminski: Though challenging, the promise of the Arab Spring is clear and attainable, and recent events suggest that it may be many things, but not stalled.

What's come to be known as the Obama administration's "leading from behind" Middle East policy increases the odds of an unhappy ending to the Arab Spring. The premature obituary that forms the basis of the ascendant realist strategy undermines America's interests and betrays our values. Image from

'Arrogant powers seek to dominate ME' - presstv.ir: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned against plots hatched by arrogant powers to cause a rift among regional nations with the purpose of dominating the Middle East region.

Enemies intend to cause a gap and split nations in the region through spreading propaganda, said President Ahmadinejad in a meeting with top Afghan parliamentarians in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Monday. Ahmadinejad image from article

Propaganda Instructions on Wenzhou Train Crash - Patrick Chovanec, businessinsider.com: The website Ministry of Truth (banned in China) regularly publishes the censorship directives issued to China’s state-run media by the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department — which makes it an incredibly revealing guide to what’s actually going on in China, what topics or information authorities feel are “too sensitive” for people to know about. The instructions concerning Saturday’s deadly high-speed rail collision near Wenzhou speak for themselves: Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the Wenzhou high-speed train crash, all media outlets are to promptly report information released from the Ministry of Railways. No journalists should conduct independent interviews. All subsidiaries including newspaper, magazines and websites are to be well controlled. Do not link reports with articles regarding the development of high-speed trains. Do not conduct reflective reports. Additional directives for all central media: The latest directives on reporting the Wenzhou high-speed train crash: 1. Release death toll only according to figures from authorities. 2. Do not report on a frequent basis. 3. More touching stories are to reported instead, i.e. blood donation, free taxi services, etc. 4. Do not investigate the causes of the accident; use information released from authorities as standard. 5. Do not reflect or comment. Reminder on reporting matters: All reports regarding the Wenzhou high-speed train accident are to be titled “7.23 Yong-Wen line major transportation accident.” Reporting of the accident is to use “ ‘in the face of great tragedy, there’s great love’” as the major theme.

Do not question. Do not elaborate. Do not associate. No re-posting on micro-blogs will be allowed! Related service information may be provided during news reporting. Music is to be carefully selected! It is worth noting that these instructions have been widely ignored by Chinese journalists responding to widespread public anger and frustration over the accident. Image from


"'Captain America' is the number one movie in the country. The good news, it made $65 million.

The bad news, Captain America owns Captain China $14 trillion."

--Talk show host Jay Leno; cited in Bulletin News, LLC (July 26); image from

“If we don't have anonymity on the Internet, we've got nothing.”

--Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PCWorld


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