President Kennedy at the Voice of America, 1962. Credit: White House official photograph by Abbie Rowe.

President Kennedy on the Voice of America (1962)

In the last decade, authoritarian regimes have increasingly used their print, broadcast, and social media to control or restrict their own citizens’ access to news and information – in order to shape or channel the opinions of their populations. The same regimes use the media to influence international opinion, often propagating outright lies and falsehoods.  …

“Propaganda in Reverse”

“Jingoist newspaper articles, or thoughtlessly provocative speeches in Congress, may become propaganda in reverse.” This was the 1963 observation of emeritus Princeton professor of politics John B. Whitton (1892-1977) in his book Propaganda and the Cold War (Washington, Public Affairs Press, 1963, pp. 10-11).  His chapter on “The American Effort Challenged” included a subhead —…

Edward G. Lansdale, 1956. Credit: USAF Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center.

Ed Lansdale, Vietnam, “Sharp Power” and “Psychological”

                The disinformation, propaganda, and malign narratives that now trouble international relations reach beyond the traditional Public Diplomacy frames of “mutual understanding,” “winning hearts and minds” and “soft power.” They are tools of “sharp power,” defined by the National Endowment for Democracy as “authoritarian influence efforts” that “pierce,…