Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6

“The real risk to the world is if information technology pivots to a completely authentic identity for everyone."

--Joichi Ito, head of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; image from


Arts Industries Policy Forum Conference, Accounting for Culture in the Military: Implications for Future Humanitarian Cooperation, Dec. 9, 2011: "On Friday, December 9, 2011, at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., the Arts Industries Policy Forum will host a one-day conference addressing the U.S. military’s efforts to increase its cultural expertise. While the military has made the goal of increased cultural knowledge and awareness a priority since the mid-2000s, these developments have yet to be accounted for as part of a broad inter-agency conversation among military and non-military stakeholders. The increasing relevance of the military’s approaches to cultural challenges to the work of other government agencies and non-governmental actors, including diplomacy, development, and humanitarian relief, makes the present moment opportune for a fruitful exchange regarding the relationship of culture to security."

Via LB. See also John Brown, "A Modest Proposal: Make the Pentagon Our Very Own Ministry of Culture!," Huffington Post (2009). Image from


(1) Video: Fox Calls The Muppets Communist Propaganda

(2) Palestine in Israeli School Books: Nurit Peled-Elhanan


The feeling is mutual, Mr. Ambassador - techsoupglobal.org: "The American Ambassador to Romania, Mark Gitenstein, took the time to offer this comment on my Huffington Post article about the Restart Romania project ... . ‘The Restart Romania project has been one of the highlights of my tenure in Bucharest and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with TechSoup Romania. The creative ideas and civic activism generated by this project have been nothing short of inspirational. It is important now to continue our support of these dynamic young leaders as they translate their ideas into action. We haven’t done this on our own. The Austrian, British, Canadian, German, and Spanish embassies in Bucharest have been our invaluable partners throughout

the process. I would also like to recognize the generous support of corporate and foundation partners such as the Erste Foundation, Microsoft, Cisco, and the French American Charitable Trust. Additionally, the project has enjoyed the support of more than 30 private sector partners large and small including Google, Zitec, PRAS Consulting, and NextRoot. Restart Romania’s success demonstrates what can be achieved through a State Department democracy grant with strong community backing and public diplomacy behind it. - Ambassador Mark Gitenstein”'" Image from article

Varsities should promote research: Guv - timesofindia.indiatimes.com: "Maharashtra governor and chancellor of state universities K Sankaranarayanan has called for greater emphasis on research in the universities with an eventual objective of emulating developed countries like the United States in producing Nobel laureates in large numbers. 'The US has produced nearly 300 Nobel laureates in various streams of science alone, which was possible due to emphasis on research in higher education,' he said at the inaugural session of a three-day international conclave, involving universities from India and US, which got underway here on Monday. Union minister of science and technology Vilasrao Deshmukh was the chief guest at the conclave, which has been jointly organised by the

D Y Patil University (DPU), USbased non-profit organisation State Legislative Leaders Foundation and the Alliance for Indo-US Business, with a view to explore newer ties between universities in India and US. ... Tripura governor and DPU founder head D Y Patil; Michael Peletier, minister counsellor for public affairs and public diplomacy and president of the board of the US-India Education Foundation; and DPU chancellor P D Patil were among the prominent persons present." K Sankaranarayanan image from

A Cultural Policy Listening Project? Long Overdue - Robert Albro, Public Policy Anthropologist: "[W]e should be giving more attention to the reasons why culture has become a basis for claim-making, friction, and competition, and a subject of multilateral policy making in these and other terms. These are not trivial issues. They passionately matter to people around the globe. What are the ways culture matters for the rest of the world? I am not talking about the need to fix public diplomacy by improving unilateral U.S. efforts dedicated to message delivery nor sounding a cross-cultural communication-inspired call for better understanding of 'Chinese culture,' 'Iranian culture,' or “Russian culture.” I am talking about the expanding relevance of culture as it is incorporated into national and multilateral policy making. In short, culture – as a subject of policy – is a basic feature of political decision-making, global problem-solving, as well as new knowledge production and innovation, in ways both different than in the past and growing in importance. ... Currently U.S. cultural policy tends toward a relatively narrow commitment to arts policy,

and as such is primarily dedicated to defining public support for the arts and U.S. national heritage in partnership with private support. If support for the arts in the U.S. is itself important, it should not be the only priority. ... The terms of globalization and global conflict are not defined simply by the global economy, new media technologies, or transnational movements of people, but also by the meaningful cultural frames that organize the ongoing significance of globalization as an everyday lived experience in both these and other ways. ... Despite: a regular concern about the decline of the U.S. image abroad, growing appeals to uses of soft power, a recognized deficit in applied cultural knowledge and training, and the encouraging fact that the Obama administration is the first ever to formally present a cultural policy platform prior to the election, there is little sign that the U.S. is ready to change its exceptionalist ways in cultural terms in the interest of real global dialogue." Albro image from

Voice of America will celebrate 70th anniversary of broadcasting to China with a reception on Capitol Hill – BBG Watch: "As reported by BBG Watch, if it were not for Congressman Rohrabacher and other members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, VOA would not be able to celebrate this anniversary. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency which manages VOA, wanted to terminate all VOA radio and television broadcasts in Mandarin and Cantonese as of October 1, 2011, which happened to be the anniversary of the founding of communist China. ... BBG members, who — as BBG Watch points out — are both new and inexperienced and work only part time, followed the advice of their executive staff and were surprised by the strength

of the opposition to their plan. Some BBG members are now beginning to question the wisdom of another plan, also developed by the BBG executive staff, that proposes to merge Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa into a large corporate entity. BBG officials also proposed to de-federalize and privatize Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti. BBG Watch reported that under the chairmanship of Walter Isaacson, a former CNN executive and author of the best selling biography of Steve Jobs, several top BBG positions have already been filled by former CNN employees, one of who bragged in an email to a BBG member about displacing 'old white guys,' sources say. These plans are likely to encounter strong opposition in Congress, BBG Watch reports. Critics claim that the proposal would destroy the traditional dual arrangement of the Voice of America and the surrogate broadcasters having different roles and missions. This arrangement, supported by Congress and numerous U.S. administrations, has been very successful due to the independence and specialization of the surrogate broadcasters and the semi-official status of the Voice of America. Centralization and privatization being proposed by the BBG executive staff would undermine both elements on which the effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasting depends and would create a huge, costly, and unaccountable corporate bureaucracy, critics charge. Members of the BBG were invited to the Tuesday reception on Capitol Hill despite their earlier vote to end VOA radio and TV programs to China." Image from article

The glories of Soft Power - Comm Kids: American University Students Discuss International Communication: "To me Joseph Nye’s article on Soft Power and public diplomacy was great. It was clear, and concise and helped to refine how I see public diplomacy. Which is a little disheartening since I did just do a long paper on it. However I think that he does a wonderful job of describing what the difference is between soft power and public diplomacy. 'Good public diplomacy has to go beyond propaganda. Nor is public diplomacy merely public relations campaigns. Conveying information and selling a positive image is part of it, but public diplomacy also involves building long-term relationships that create an enabling environment for government policies.' I think this quote does an excellent job of summing up public diplomacy. ... Who is it that plans public diplomacy? Do they think about how messages are read in other contexts and cultures? It sometimes seems to me like people who are actually knowledgeable about a foreign place, and culture aren’t ever consulted when making these decisions. ... [Comment by] MaryJ: American public diplomacy officers (and their local host-country colleagues) do have a significant role in figuring out which U.S. Government policies and initiatives to highlight, and how to communicate them, in the host country environment. And they often do an excellent job of helping keep a positive dialogue and a positive relationship going across a range of mutual interests, even when there are one or two serious foreign policy disagreements. However, we have not yet reached a stage in U.S. foreign policy-making where public diplomacy professionals are seriously consulted before major policies are actually established. This is what former USIA director (and famed journalist) Edward R. Murrow famously meant when he said he wanted to be ‘in at the takeoff and not just the crash-landing’

(to paraphrase). ... (Note: While I am a public diplomacy officer with the State Department, these comments reflect my personal opinion only.)" Image from

Learning our lessons? - Peace of Mind - Sleep deprived graduate students strive to attain fame and fortune through blogging their studies: "The US cannot afford to maintain its short term memory of the importance of public diplomacy and that it is a compliment for policy. The fact that there are still debates about the importance of public diplomacy after the Cold War, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is disheartening. Do we really need someone to tell us over and over again that diplomacy has tangible, worthy outcomes?"

A New Way to Communicate? - Becky, IC therefore IM: Group 2's blog for SIS 640 at American University: "[T]he Pragmatic Complexity Model ...

I think I finally figured it out. In a nutshell, you have two people. Person A is going to send a message to Person B, so they figure out what it is they want to convey and they encode it in the message. ... I find it slightly disturbing that the United States government is still stuck in the old methods. How do we ever plan on communicating and actually having our messages understood if we just assume that people will always just understand? Why do we see that these old models do not and yet do nothing to fix them? I think that if we are going to make any headway in public diplomacy or in simply fixing our reputation abroad, the U.S. Government should possibly learn of the Pragmatic Complexity Model and learn to use it." Image from

This is the last post, so it’s ok to be sentimental - Echo, Do You See What IC?: "In January this year, around the time of the Chinese new year, Chinese government created a so called 'National image video' to be played on six huge screens in Time Square. In one sentence, this 60-second video was literately just the smiling faces of 50 Chinese celebrities, one second at a time. It was played 15 times per hour, 20 hours per day from Jan 17 to Feb 14. According to the official, this was part of a 'public diplomacy campaign' to showcase our accomplishments and spirit. But seriously, can putting a slide show like this between Coca-Cola and Remy Martin ads tell the world anything at all?"

FCO Public Diplomacy: the 2012 London Olympics, Part 1 - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: “Q2 Chair: My first question ... is: to what extent is public diplomacy effective in changing perceptions of a country in the wider world? Apart from the two to which I have referred, have any other countries been particularly successful in using public diplomacy in this way? Simon Anholt: It all depends on what you mean by public diplomacy. This subject, as I am sure you have discovered, is very hard to discuss, because there is so little rigour or systematic use of the terminology. Public diplomacy is a term that can cover a whole host of evils. Definitions of it range from the very precise, the very traditional and the very old-fashioned to the very broad definition that you have yourself just used, which is about the general long-term management of national reputation. I would argue that the cases of Japan and Germany were more export miracles than public diplomacy miracles. Some necessary political changes stopped them being immediately perceived as pariahs after the second world war, but after that point the way that those countries began to worm their way into international public esteem was through the export of high-quality consumer goods, and after a few years, people began to discover that, if they could trust the Braun razor or the Sony hi-fi, perhaps they trusted the company that made them. China is doing precisely the same thing now. If that is public diplomacy, yes, it works."

Citing data purchased from BBG, BBC World Service announces "record high" BBC Arabic audience of 33.4 million - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

India Blog Series: Cooperation with India: An Option or A Must? - Mona El Hamdani, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Cultural public diplomacy is one of the promising venues through which the Arab states and India

can develop more relations." Image from

ABC boss welcomes Australia Network decision - ABC Online: "The ABC's Managing Director, Mark Scott, tells News 24's Joe O'Brien the Federal Government's decision is welcome after a long process, and rejects accusations of improper lobbying. He's also promised an expanded multi-platform sevice for the ABC's international audience. ... You know, we don't outsource our embassies, we don't outsource our defence forces, we shouldn't outsource our public diplomacy."

PM speaks out over dumped government tender for overseas TV network
- Jessica Marszalek, Phillip Hudson, Herald Sun: "Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she had no choice but to abandon a $233 million tender for an overseas television network and award it to the ABC because of damaging leaks that compromised the process.
Cabinet yesterday handed over the contract for the Australia Network to the public broadcaster despite leaks that rival broadcaster Sky News had twice won an independent tender for the service. ... Communications Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday said the leaks, which are being investigated by police, had compromised the process and the Government had

decided to make the Australia Network 'a permanent feature of the ABC'. 'The Australia Network is a major public diplomacy platform, and, as is the case with comparable operators such as the UK's BBC World Service and Germany's Deutsche Welle, the Government believes the service should be provided by Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC,' Senator Conroy said last night. 'Having reflected upon the process to date, and what the service really needs to provide, the Government has determined that Australia's international broadcasting service should be delivered by the national broadcaster.'" Gillard image from

Dumping tendering helps clear policy confusion‎ - John Tebbutt, Sydney Morning Herald: "Political influence in public diplomacy broadcasts is inevitable. That means public broadcasting's relationship to powerful agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs needs to be carefully considered and clearly defined.

The recent tendering debacle for Australia Network indicates how quickly politics sets in when there are no clear policy settings. Dumping tendering will help clear away the policy confusion." Image from article, with caption: Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has announced the ABC will continue to broadcast the Australia Network.

Australia Network: Messy, slow, right - Lowy Interpreter: "[T]he Gillard Government has finally decided that the rightful and permanent home for the government-funded international television service, the Australia Network, is within the government-funded broadcasting stable, the ABC. ... Australia

is far from alone in using international broadcasting to influence foreign public opinion to support our national interest. In a Lowy Institute report I co-authored last year, International Broadcasting and its contribution to Public Diplomacy*, we looked at the way government-funded international broadcasting operates across a number of major economies including the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany and China. Australia has been the only country to contract out what is considered internationally to be a core element of a government's soft power. This week's decision to place Australia Network permanently within the ABC means Australia is no longer unique in the international pack of government-funded international broadcasters. But more importantly, does it mean that Australia's broadcaster will be more effective in carrying out its soft power role? I believe it will be."  Image from

Twitter users vexed at Israel: Topic 'Israel hates' high on social network's list, right after Justin Bieber, serving as platform for slew of complaints against Jewish state - Ynetnews: This Monday, however, a new topic emerged on cell phone screens of Twitter users – 'Israel hates'.

A search for the israelhates# hashtag (a keyword or topic on the social network) yields thousands of results being updated by the minute. According to online hashtag website Tagdef.com, the 'Israel hates' hashtag ranked second – after [Justin] Bieber of course. ... Roaming through the social network on Monday raised speculations that someone declared a day of complaints against Israel and forgot to inform the Israeli government. Users fighting for Israel's public diplomacy are not twiddling their thumbs. 'I love Israel. Come visit us and you too will fall in love with it like I have,' wrote one such user. Others are trying to direct the spotlight at other topics." Image from

Prince Turki al-Faisal calls for stronger Gulf bloc, says Saudi may join nuke arms race
- Posted by Terrobuster, somalipeacemaker.blogspot.com: "Prince Turki al-Faisal, chief of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, on Monday called on Gulf states to make the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) a powerful regional bloc with a unified

armed force and a unified defense industry, a Saudi daily reported. Prince Turki, who has been intensively engaged in public diplomacy across the world, also urged GCC leaders and decision-makers at 'The Gulf and the Globe' conference in Riyadh to transform the 30-year-old regional bloc into a strong 'union of sovereign states,' the Arab News reported." [Item evidently from Al Arabiya News]. Turki al-Faisal image from article

Who You Callin’ Ahmed?: Notes on the Nym Wars - RasoirJ, 317am.net: "Twitter ... is a different universe from Facebook, one filled with users with all sorts of exotic pseudonyms. Twitter lets you call yourself whatever you want. For example, just from the gravitas-laden world of public diplomacy alone, there’s the blogger mountainrunner (Matt Armstrong); the Middle East expert abuaardvark (real name Mark Lynch); and Hondo Mesa, a.k.a. Dennis Kinsey, director of public diplomacy at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University."

The Fight for Diplomacy (In this dog-eat-dog World) - spunkybabe.blogspot.com: "Diplomacy. To aptly define it, is a profession or skill of managing international relations. Another definition would be the art of dealing with people in a sensitive way. Now how are we to know if a person appointed by our well-meaning government is qualified for the job as a diplomat? Well the answer lies in the following

qualifying criteria: a.) Should be a Filipino citizen with no drug or alcohol abuse record; b.) Should have at least one of the five career tracks: Consular, Economic, Management, Political and Public Diplomacy; c). Should pass the Foreign Oral Services Assessment test, after passing the written one; d.) Should pass the language eligibility test; e). Should undergo and pass background and medical examinations and; f). Should be willing to be assigned to another country. So in this on-going battle of wits and fame in our current government, are we following all these criteria in choosing our ambassadors to other countries? I would like to believe so." Image from article


Come Home to Israel - Roger Cohen, New York Times: The one true existential threat to Israel is loss of U.S. support.

War propaganda against Iran – Europe is gearing up - Viktor Reznov, syrianews.cc: In addition to the trouble spot Syria, where especially the United States and the EU want to construct this from outside, and were able to get the support by the so-called Arab League (AL), which could finally be called a puppet of Western interests, they also started to strongly mobilize against Iran now.

really surprising at all because it was always said that Syria is the way to Iran. Image from

Next Propaganda Phase: UN Says Syria Tortures Children - Kurt Nimmo, Infowars.com: In order to send in the bombers and introduce the sort of carnage in Syria the US and NATO inflicted on Libya, the propaganda war needs to be dialed up. Allegations of child abuse usually do the trick. Journalists call it “the hook.”

The Greater Islamophobia: Bombing, Invading, and Occupying Muslim Lands (I) - Danios, loonwatch.com: The Crusades that ravaged the Muslim world centuries ago were fueled by mindless hatred of the Other, a hatred without which it is unlikely that a whole civilization could have been successfully mobilized against another.

Similarly, the United States of America has taken up the sword against the Muslim world, something that simply would not be possible without large segments of the society accepting an anti-Muslim worldview as axiomatic. Islamophobia is necessary to wage war against the Muslim world but it is also the inevitable result of such wars. There is a need to spread the Supreme Islamophobic Myth that radical Islam is the greatest threat to world peace and must be fought. Image from article

Online uproar as India seeks social media screening - Devidutta Tripathy and Anurag Kotoky, reuters.com: India has urged social network companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove offensive material, unleashing a storm of criticism from Internet users in the world's largest democracy complaining of censorship. Telecoms and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal met executives from Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft on Monday to ask them to screen content, but no agreement with the companies was reached, he said.

China TV boss denies journalistic independence - smh.com.au: Chinese journalists must remember they are, first and foremost, "mouthpieces" of the state, the new head of CCTV, the powerful state-run broadcaster, has said. Hu Zhanfan, who took the reins at CCTV last month, said that journalists who kidded themselves that they were independent professionals, rather than "propaganda workers,", were making a "fundamental mistake about identity." Below Hu Zhanfan image from

Goebbels in China? - David Bandurski, cmp.hku.hk: There have been unrelenting signals since August that Chinese leaders plan to act more robustly to control domestic social media platforms, which have been influential on a range of stories this year — from the Guo Meimei scandal to independent local people’s congress candidates. A series of pronouncements in Party publications over the past week, thankfully summarized in one place by Bill Bishop at DigiCha, seem to mark an intensification of the anti-rumor rhetoric that kicked off following the July 23 Wenzhou train collision. The anti-rumor push, which focusses moralistically on false and misleading information — and, yes, politically uncomfortable information — as a socially dangerous scourge to be rooted out, can be seen as part of a broader attempt to legitimize the intensification of information controls. It is no surprise, therefore, to see that state media fulmination against “rumors” is drumming home the idea of rumors as “drugs” that threaten the well-being of society. Of course, mobilizing society to accept and legitimize information controls is an increasingly difficult proposition in a country where ordinary people are growing ever more conscious of censorship and its ills. And perhaps one of the best examples of this can be seen in the online controversy brewing this weekend over the past remarks of Hu Zhanfan (胡占凡), the former Guangming Daily editor-in-chief who was appointed last month as the new head of the state-run China Central Television.

Photos of brutality in Tibet leaked out of China - Harold Mandel, examiner.com: The potent propaganda of the powerful Chinese government insisting the Tibetans have been exaggerating reports of repression in Tibet coupled with views of American statesmen enjoying extravagant Peking Duck feasts and cocktail partys with the Communist Chinese has had many people wondering what the truth is about the situation in Tibet.

Phayul.com has reported "Leaked photos show Chinese brutality in Tibet." A series of photos which depict China’s brutality in Tibet and the Chinese security official’s high-handed and ruthless display of power over Tibetan monks and commoners have been leaked out of Tibet. Image from article, with caption: Tibetan Buddhist monks being detained by the Communist Chinese

All-American Muslim: The Perils of Propaganda - Daniel Greenfield, frontpagemag.com: All-American Muslim is on its last legs. Not only was the last episode of the show the lowest rated show in its time slot, losing again to Homeland, but it was also the lowest rated show of the night among the top 100 cable shows aimed at adults. While Homeland has improved its ratings, All-American Muslim has dropped so low that it’s hovering above the abyss. Just to bring out the vultures, Discovery Communications is being sued by Visionaire Media which accuses it of stealing its idea for an “American Muslim Show”

without compensation. The deadly secret of All-American Muslim is that not even the liberals in the media want to watch it. That is the problem with propaganda, it isn’t very interesting. Negative propaganda can be entertaining, positive propaganda is stifling. All-American Muslim promotes Islam with weak reality show theatrics that are inferior in drama and entertainment value to the competition. It is so determined to promote its agenda that it utterly fails to be interesting. Image from article

New art show studys [sic] propaganda: Being a loud, multichannel, giant installation in itself, the exhibit is received as nervous, fidgety, unforgiving, and mostly expressive - Galia Yahav, haaretz.com: A new art show opened in Haifa’s WIZO Gallery – Propaganda, curated by Yaniv Yehuda Aiger.

The exhibition features a study of propaganda in both its forms; the political and commercial merged together. Image from article, with caption: Twins, The Butter and Bartholin Museum

Documentary on Soviet Russian composer to be held at Russian Cultural Center - Cody Tucker, ultimatewestu.com: Russian Cultural Center Our Texas will screen a documentary on composer Dmitry Shostakovich on Friday, Dec. 16. The film, “A Journey of Dmitry Shostakovich,” chronicles a 1973 Soviet propaganda cruise

to the United States that Shostakovich participated in two years before his death, and parallels the ocean voyage with his personal journey from child prodigy to bitter tool of the Politburo. Additionally, it mixes Soviet propaganda films with snippets of symphonies and rare film of the composer at work. Shostakovich image from article

Early Soviet Propaganda Film, 'Seekers of Happiness,' At New Haven Library - courant.com: On Saturday, Dec. 10, the Mitchell Branch of the New Haven Library, at 37 Harrison St., will show an early Soviet propaganda film, which was made to persuade Soviet Jews to move to Siberia. "Seekers of Happiness"

is Vladimir Korsh-Sablin's 1936 drama about impoverished Jews settling on a collective farm, and all achieving happiness. Image from article, with caption: Still from "Seekers of Happiness."

Stocking stuffer: Victory Garden of Tomorrow propaganda posters
- Caitlin Keller, latimesblogs.latimes.com: Portland, Ore., resident Joe Wirtheim has a background in graphic design and communication studies.

In the midst of political debates back in 2004, Wirtheim decided to start making retro-style propaganda posters. A year later, he began a self-commissioned poster art project called the Victory Garden of Tomorrow, to inspire and educate people. His artwork stems from vintage propaganda and advertising posters, particularly those produced during

World War II, as well as the 1939 New York World's Fair. In them he propagates ideas of simple living with graphics that read, "Help Harvest," "You Serve When You Preserve" or "Can All You Can." Images from article


The Top 10 Twitter Trends of 2011: TV, Movies, Music, Sports and News: A Year-End Look at the Twittersphere's Obsessions by What The Trend - Simon Dumenco, adage.com

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