Powell, Singer, Brooking address an audience

How classic propaganda tactics weaponize social media

If you participate in social media, you are being spun.  And that’s a problem for government communicators, especially in public diplomacy. LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, published just two months ago, has been termed by Amazon Press as “the best book of 2018”.  The book’s co-authors, noted scholars of 21st century new media Peter W.…

head shot of Barry Zorthian

Lessons of Counterinsurgency: A Word from Barry Zorthian

During the Vietnam War, Barry Zorthian (1920-2010) was the Director of the U.S. Information Service in Saigon, and he was the prime mover in establishing the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO).  JUSPAO brought together the media operations of the State Department, the U.S. Information Service, USAID, the CIA, and the Military Assistance Command,…

Voting booths on a table top

Autumn 2018: Two National Elections in Starkly Different Settings

If you have voted for a new parliament in Afghanistan, or are a U.S. citizen planning to cast your ballot November 8, pause — and consider the contrasts. These came to mind at a briefing by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which surveys its audiences and shares results.  In Afghanistan, half of eligible…

President Dwight D. Eisenhower meeting with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles at the White House.

1957: Eisenhower, Dulles and merging USIA back into State, or Not

On Friday morning, January 18, 1957, Arthur Larson gave a lengthy and wide-ranging presentation on the United States Information Agency to President Eisenhower’s cabinet. After 22 months as under secretary at the Labor Department, and now one month as USIA Director, Larson used charts, maps, and film clips to describe the barely four-year-old agency. The nearly three dozen attendees…

Building Trust: the Ultimate Challenge in an Age of Global Media Voices, Sounds and Images

“Words matter!” That phrase was the theme of a wide-ranging survey by a senior official of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (the USAGM) of the challenges confronting Western broadcasters today. Dr. Haroon K. Ullah, chief strategy officer of the newly-renamed agency known since 1994 as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was the principal speaker at…