You know you’ve heard it. Whether it was at the office, at school, or a social setting (how erudite of you!), you heard someone bemoan the loss of the United States Information Agency. Perhaps that someone was you. In my experience, these laments are really a coded acknowledgment that the U.S. lacks a strategy, an organizing principle, and empowered individuals to operate in an information-driven world. Continue reading “No, We Do Not Need to Revive the U.S. Information Agency – endnote edition”
In late 1940, the State Department was concerned about ‘anti-American propaganda being short-waved hourly to Latin America.’ The Department of Justice was concerned whether ‘Axis agents in the United States received direction and guidance from Nazi short-wave programs,’ plus a growing concern about ‘the growing aggressiveness of Japan as reflected in her radio broadcasts.’ In addition to wanting to know what was coming into the United States, State, and others saw foreign government broadcasts as a necessary insight. Continue reading “From the past: FBIS and World War II”
This was originally published as an exclusive to email subscribers on August 18. It appears here following requests to forward that email and that I post it here. It remains my personal opinion.
Last night’s CBS Evening News threw to VOA’s Steve Herman to provide on-the-scene coverage of the Bangkok bombing. VOA’s video coverage of the site was broadcast by CBS with the text ‘Voice of America’ visible on the screen (a text bug, rather than VOA’s normal graphic bug). This was not a copy from the VOA website (or more precisely, the BBG affiliate system used by some 2,800 news media users around the globe where broadcast quality / HD content is available for worldwide) as CBS threw to Steve Herman by name, and Steve concluded the story by throwing it back – by name – to the CBS anchor. Continue reading “Thoughts about CBS Evening News going to VOA’s Steve Herman for Bangkok bombing coverage”
The crossing was amazing! All of the pent up adrenalin that had been building for weeks, the cold water training, and then, finally, after a delay of a day, we were told the evening of Wednesday July 29 that our team was slotted to start our swim at 830 the next morning. We were a group of swimmers that workout together at the local athletic club’s pool. One of our number thought it would be great to swim the Channel, though none of had thought about swimming in, let alone through – the Channel. We then found Aspire, a great charity that helps people paralysed by spinal injuries, would facilitate our crossing and we raised more than £10,000 for the cause. Our international group had Frenchmen, Kiwis, one German, a Canadian, and me, the token American (and the only one with actual open water race experience). Continue reading “Swimming the English Channel – the report”
In 1949, the Cold War was in full swing. Barely four years earlier, the White House and the Congress set about to make various programs permanent in the post-war world. These efforts included various information programs — radio, libraries, press feeds, motion pictures, books, and other publications — and various exchange programs — educational, cultural, and technical. There was one primary authority for these — the eventually named Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 — and several supplementary programs — the Fulbright Act and Defense Department information programs run in Japan and Germany/Austria. Continue reading “Quoting History: Information as an essential component of foreign policy”