Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21

--Book by a Donald Rogers on the shortlist for the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year, and listed on Abe-books as "sold out"; cited in J.C., "The moral game," Times Literary Supplement (March 9, 2012), p. 34; image from


Casablanca - Trailer [1942] [16th Oscar Best Picture]; via GG on Facebook


In his Nowruz message, President Obama discusses Iran's "electronic curtain" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from article

Obama’s Hypocritical Message to Iran - Juan Cole, Informed Comment: "President Barack Obama addresses the Iranian public on the occasion of the Iranian New Year (Now-Ruz). Shorter version: The US and Iran are on the brink of war because you have a civilian nuclear enrichment program of the same sort a lot of other countries have; but we actually like you and want you to be able to read about that on the internet so we are providing you with piracy software to get around internet controls in Iran even while we’re imposing more and more control of the internet in the West and prosecuting leakers of government illegalities in an unprecedentedly harsh way."

Civic Education Workshop for Future Leaders Exchange Program Wednesday, 21 March 2012, 9:50 am Press Release: US State Department Civic Education Workshop for Future Leaders Exchange Program Students Kicks Off in Washington, D.C., March 18-24 - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC March 20, 2012 posted at "The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs welcomes Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) students March 18-24 for a Civic Education Workshop in Washington, DC. On March 20, Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Kathleen Stephens

will address the students. On March 21, students will meet with Members of Congress and staff representing the districts of their American host families. The FLEX program gives students ages 15-17 from Eurasian countries the chance to live with an American host family and attend a U.S. high school for an academic year. The 100 students were chosen through an essay competition to participate in the Civic Education Workshop from approximately 800 students participating in FLEX this year. Participants in the workshop represent ten different countries from Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, and are studying in 30 U.S. states." Stephens image from

The BBG explains why it replaced "accurate and reliable" with "freedom and democracy" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "BBG Strategy, 12 Mar 2012, Bruce Sherman: 'The BBG has unveiled a new mission statement that acknowledges the changes in audience media habits — especially with regard to the emergence of connective technologies. ... 'To inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.' ... Let’s break the statement down: (1) 'inform' captures the BBG’s longstanding mission to provide accurate, credible, and comprehensive news and information; (2) 'engage' is new and reflects the priority of increasingly being in dialogue with our audiences, to listen to what they have to say, and encourage them to share with us — including content; (3) 'connect,' also new, refers to helping audiences network with one another to share their information and ideas in peer-to-peer fashion; (4) 'people around the world' conveys that our target audiences are overseas; and (5) 'in support of freedom and democracy' highlights why we exist. ... Why include a mention of freedom and democracy in the statement? Because strategy speaks to ends, not just means. Our enabling legislation makes clear that freedom and democracy is the ultimate, long-term goal of our efforts. By putting those words in our statement we are clear with ourselves and our stakeholders why we exist.' [Elliott comment:] Reliable news is a necessary ingredient in the development and maintenance of freedom and democracy. But real news does not support, or promote, anything. 

It informs. Its "impact" is measured by the quantity and quality of the people who are informed. There are many ways to 'inform.' The 'accurate and reliable news and information' of the previous, flawed, but better mission statement is a small subset of those many ways to 'inform.' In the new BBG mission statement, 'inform' is not only unqualified, but it is relegated to one-third of the mission statement, along with 'engage' and 'connect.' For an agency that has set a goal to be the 'world's leading news agency' by 2016, the BBG seems uncertain of the concept of news. See also 'US International Broadcasting: Success Requires Independence and Consolidation.' (And see Mary Boone's blog,, which seems to have predated the BBG's 'inform, engage, and connect.')" Image from article

Save Voice of America Tibetan Radio appeals to Congress for protection from Obama Administration cut - "A recently launched Save Voice of America Tibetan Radio website ( and a Facebook page (

urge supporters to contact their congressmen with a message to oppose elimination of Voice of America Tibetan radio by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. federal government agency which oversees VOA broadcasts and wants to silence VOA radio in Tibet as part of its 2013 budget proposal. On its Facebook page, Save VOA Tibetan Radio states that stopping the Voice of America’s Tibetan Language Radio would be wrong for the following reasons: 1. Wrong political message to the Chinese Communist Party. 2. VOA Tibetan language radio is a unique source of information for Tibetans. 3. Shortwave radio is still a powerful medium in Tibet." Image from article. See also.

Chinese firms need strong 'public diplomacy' to go global - CNET News China: "Chinese enterprises need to shake off common perception that the country is a manufacturing empire and focus on innovation that will put them on par with global players. Speaking at the Broadcasting Innovation in the Mobile Internet Era forum held here this year, NetQin CEO Lin Yu stressed the importance of 'public diplomacy' and urged Chinese organizations to remove the 'stigma of the Made-In-China empire' and develop from low-end manufacturing to high-tech manufacturing. He also called on them to be 'autonomously innovative' and embark on research efforts to develop their own technologies, so they can become modern technological service enterprises that are on par with international manufacturers."

Russia Today is "different from the old Soviet media" but its "hallmark ... is anti-Westernism" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Vietnam plans extensive international radio and television services, including satellite TV in 8 Languages - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Public Diplomacy, Branding and the Image of Nations, Part I:What’s in a Brand? - Daryl Copeland, "Today I am preparing to welcome nation branding guru Simon Anholt into my MA class, hot on the heels of a command performance last Wednesday by Parag Khanna.

In order to introduce Simon, I have been reviewing his work, and in that regard came across a fascinating exchange he engaged in a few years back on the CPD blog with Craig Hayden. Their repartee got me thinking – again – about the hardy perennial issue of whether or not there exists a real distinction between branding and PD. Is one a subset of the other? If so, which is the larger construct?  Does it really matter? I’m not sure, especially because these sorts of considerations suggest that the relationship may be asymmetrical, rather than simply differentiated. Last fall during a presentation on the history of PD at DFAIT in Ottawa, Nick Cull , quoting Simon Anholt, made the point that

nation brands – he may have used the terms image and reputation – are rather like the stars in the night sky. They twinkle and gleam and seem to be real, even though the actual source of the source illumination will have moved light years away, and might even be extinguished. Nick was making this observation for the purpose of illustrating that the widely held perceptions of countries and nations often lag significantly behind the reality of contemporary performance. Canada happens to be an excellent example of this phenomenon. My home and native land had been coasting for at least a decade on the strength of its history as a committed internationalist, generous aid donor, peacekeeper, honest broker, helpful fixer and disinterested provider of good offices,  until it finally slammed head on into the harsh reality of failing to win a seat on the UN Security Council in the fall of 2010. ... A nation’s brand, then, can be a mixed blessing, and is sometimes fickle. That may help explain why branding – the deliberate attempt to project an image and manage a reputation – is notoriously difficult." Image from

…if we were asked today to rebrand Greece - Ares Kalandides and Mihalis Kavaratzis, Place Management and Branding: "Let’s face it: There are probably few countries in Europe right now with a worse image than Greece (we can’t really think of any that even come close). From what we hear, it is especially in Germany, the Netherlands and in Austria where that image is the worst. And even Greece’s southern neighbours (Italy for example) seem to be glaring at us with the fear of contamination. Greece is Europe’s joke. ... [W]e need to get into some very serious (and self-critical) analytical work. What is Greece’s image today in different places (which we need to define) and among different groups (that we also need to figure out)? We need to monitor the media and see who writes what about the country? How does this relate to what Greece is? What do other quantitative and qualitative data actually tell us about Greece? Where do they agree and where don’t they with the prevailing image? ... There is an approach that people often forget and which goes hand in hand with Place Branding: Public Diplomacy. But with the Greek public administration at a comatose state for the time being, they will need time to build that. Maybe a look at how other countries (e.g. Germany) did it will help."

"I am not a Peon" ...?? - Haider Mehdi, posted at "Scandals abound in today's democratic Pakistan: ... Has the PM lost sight of and the appreciation for the dignity of the high office that he occupies and that demands precision and refinement in thought processes as well as the use of polished language in public communication in addressing national issues at national forums? Whatever the

case, the Prime Minister's Bahawalpur's public address has been an utter disappointment, a failure in public diplomacy and hitherto the ultimate mother of all scandals." Image from

Cultural Diplomacy’s Representational Conceit - Robert Albro, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[C]ultural diplomacy as display and for the creation of an audience is in fact not the best route to intercultural dialogue. The effort to perform, express, and project, might succeed in conjuring an audience among international publics, but in so doing this can also build barriers to conversation. An audience member watches the show but is seldom an active participant in it. Audience members occupy another world than that of the players. The representational conceit of diplomacy might inhibit dialogue, in other words, when publics are recruited as audiences for cultural spectacles."

Award-winning Editor Rena Pederson To Address Americas Gender Gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in April 4 Lecture Presented by Texas Instruments and Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas - "Pederson

previously served as Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications for the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C." Pederson image from

Obama Can’t Hide From Gas Prices - Richard Grenell, "Richard Grenell is a partner with Capitol Media Partners and a supporter of Mitt Romney. He was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush to serve as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N."


The Importance of Images to America's Fight Against Violent Jihadism - Cori E. Dauber, Americans were surely equally dismayed about a video circulating at viral speed whether they found out about the story via email, discovered it on You Tube, on Twitter, on Facebook, or simply heard about it the old fashioned way; when a network news anchor reported it. The video appeared to show a group of U.S. Marine Corps snipers standing over the bodies of several dead Afghan nationals and urinating on them — laughing while they did so.

The impact of these particular images is likely to be devastating. Respectful treatment of the dead doesn't only matter in Muslim cultures but in just about every culture. This video sends the exact opposite message from the one we want regarding our attitudes, not only toward Islamic rituals and traditions, but toward Islamic populations. Via DK on Facebook. Image from

Deadly Contagion Hits Foreign Service Blogosphere – Domani Spero, DiploPundit: We cannot say if the contagion that killed almost two dozen Foreign Service blogs was cause by a rogue virus, or if this is the “Peter Van Buren” effect [on Van Buren, see] on the FS blogosphere. But what we know for sure is there are way too many dead blogs by Foreign Service Officers in recent months. We have no idea on the exact date of demise of each blog but they are all dead now. It’s not even that they just stopped blogging, there are no goodbyes and the archives are gone. Some blogs were scrubbed clean. Some blogs have become online parking lots. And some have been totally deleted from the cyber-verse.

Not the same old North Korea? North Korea appears to be reneging on a nuclear deal with the U.S., but the agreement could still pave the way for a new American strategy: targeted social change - Michael Mazarr, Washington will need to overlook North Korean misbehavior as it remains focused on its main objective: targeted social change. Such change in the character of its system, gradual and incremental as it may be, is the only authentic means to achieve U.S. and allied interests in the long run.

Image from article, with caption: North Korean soldiers are shown at Kumsusan Memorial Palace before a parade commemorating the 70th birthday of the country's late leader Kim Jong Il. Not even a month after North Korea agreed to halt long-range missile testing, Pyongyang announced its intention to launch a satellite -- with a long-range missile.

How al-Qaeda tried to control the media - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Among the last known images of Osama bin Laden is a video seized at his compound the night he was killed, which shows the al-Qaeda leader hunched before a television screen studying a video of himself. It’s testimony to bin Laden’s obsession with the media side of his war against the United States.

Kony Is Not the Problem - Angelo Izama, New York Times: Campaigns like “Kony 2012” aspire to frame the debate about these criminals and inspire action to stop them.

Instead, they simply conscript our outrage to advance a specific political agenda — in this case, increased military action. Image from

Iran Moving In on Latin American Television Market - Adam Housley, As the U.S. and its allies try to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, Iran is doing its best to spread its propaganda around the globe, and now they are doing it in our own backyard. The Islamic country’s news agency recently launched a Spanish-language TV channel, Hispan TV, with the support and help of Venezuelan President Hugo Ch├ívez. The channel pushes anti-American, anti-West and, in some cases, anti-Christian messages.

Stomping all over Tibet - Claude Arpi, China has dropped all pretences and is now brazenly suppressing the severely restricted rights of Tibetans. This doesn’t augur well. Chinese propaganda has gone a step further. Beijing now uses its netizens “to urge the Dalai Lama to immolate himself."

Tweeting the Taliban: Social media's role in 21st century propaganda - Mark Piesing, In recent months we've seen various news headlines about how social media is putting "our boys" in Afghanistan at risk due to geo-tagging on Facebook, the leaking of secrets on Twitter or the posting of videos on YouTube that really should have been left on soldiers' smartphones. Stories of ordinary soldiers' and even their families' indiscretions online can sometimes play out to fatal consequences on the front line. Yet buried underneath all of this noise -- and often with only the begrudging support of the top brass -- a quiet revolution driven by a small number of social media evangelists has led the British military to start to use the skills of its Generation Y recruits to begin an

overt two-way, near real-time conversation with the world. Blogs on WordPress, photos posted on Flickr, Facebook friendships and Twitter conversations by "ordinary" soldiers as well as professionals (although the line between them is rather blurred) are being used to help the public understand the challenges the military faces, to build relationships with future recruits and even to help strengthen the bonds that tie family and friends to serving soldiers, sailors and airmen. This potentially risky "community building" by the military represents cultural change on its part and can perhaps be described by a simpler and more old-fashioned word: propaganda. Pippa Norris is one of the leading pioneers of this revolution. Norris was appointed Head of Online Engagement at the Ministry of Defence just under two years ago, and nothing illustrates for her how far this revolution has come in such a short period of time more than her freedom to "experiment with new social media" such as Pinterest in order to find "engaging and innovative ways to reach out to our huge English-speaking audience." Image from


"On any given day, 90% of us eat between meals and, on average, we eat twice the number of daily snacks that Americans ate 30 years ago, according to a report by the USDA Agriculture Research Service.

We have become a nation of grazers, and while that may have some benefits, it also can have some serious pitfalls."

--Ellie Krieger, "Is oversnacking becoming the norm in our nation?" USA Today; image from


“[I]n future ... there will be fewer national news outlets online. More will either look for new ways to make money from a small local audience, or try to get as big a global one as possible.”

News of the world: To survive online, newspapers are seeking a worldwide audience” – Via ACP III on Facebook

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