Dream Factory, or Propaganda Machine?

This article first appeared in the latest issue of Claremont Review of Books Have you heard the latest? Hollywood’s hottest romance may be breaking up. You won’t find the details in the tabloids or People magazine. Instead, you must look in the business section of the few newspapers that cover events outside the United States. This is because…

U.S. Broadcasters Train Journalists Worldwide

“The last three feet,” according to the late famed journalist and USIA Director Edward R. Murrow, is a classic catchword in public diplomacy statecraft. A common misperception is that U.S.-funded international broadcasters transmit signals from thousands of miles away and are largely removed from their listeners, viewers and online users. Virtually unknown: the extraordinary reach…

Folded newspaper section "China Watch"

A New Challenge for Public Diplomacy

Did public diplomacy just get a new job? Sharp power is the latest buzzword in international affairs.  Last week The Economist magazine featured a study by the National Endowment for Democracy by that name.  The new National Security Strategy dwells on how China and Russia are using traditional “soft power” instruments in new ways to advance their…

Portrait of General Marshall

The Marshall Plan at 70: Lessons for Today

Imagine spending 12 percent of the entire U.S. budget to help displaced and mostly impoverished Middle East, African and Afghan refugees to rebuild their lives?  The Marshall Plan of 1947 did just that for war-torn postwar Europe.  It was an indispensable helping hand for an entire generation recovering from devastation and dislocation after World War II. The…

US International Broadcasting Then and Now

By Alan Heil A SHORTWAVE CHRYSALIS TO A MULTIMEDIA BUTTERFLY: U.S. INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING THEN AND NOW Last Monday was indeed a memorable day for historians of our nation’s publicly-funded international broadcasters.  In the 20th century, these scholars were challenged to understand hot and Cold Wars, and convey what they learned, largely on shortwave radio.   Now they…