Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications in the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.

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,…

Leo Lemay’s Great American Reader

In 1988, the U.S. Information Agency’s Division for the Study of the United States published An Early American Reader for scholars outside the U.S.  It was compiled and edited by Professor J. A. Leo Lemay (1935-2008), the du Pont Winterthur Professor at the University of Delaware.  Lemay — also known as the “Ambassador of Early…

portrait of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the war of ideas

Ayaan Hirsi Ali published a long essay, “A Problem From Heaven: Why the United States Should Back Islam’s Reformation,” in a 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs.  Her article opened a window on the dilemmas faced by Public Diplomacy policymakers after 9/11 and the judgment calls by two Under Secretaries for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs,…