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…

Anti-Social Media: When a Nuisance Turns Into a Threat

The lid has been lifted on at least part of Russia’s “Internet Research Agency” in St. Petersburg as disaffected Internet trolls have been telling reporters how the covert corps of cyber-provocateurs has been spreading propaganda in favor of President Vladimir Putin and attacking his perceived enemies on international blogs and news and opinion websites. But…

The Voice of America is Not a Wire Service, And It Shouldn’t Be Expected to Act Like One

There’s been a growing tendency lately (particularly on BBGWatch, an online watchdog) to compare, unfavorably, VOA’s performance, as measured by number of stories or live reports from the scene of breaking news, with other national and international news organizations. Behind much of this criticism is an implicit expectation that VOA’s coverage should be as fast…