China, Censorship, and Book Translations

The President’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Matthew Pottinger – who speaks fluent Mandarin and worked for seven years as a journalist in China — recently gave a speech on the 101st anniversary of China’s May Fourth Movement of 1919. [1] China Digital Times reported “government authorities” issued this order the next day:  “Strictly delete any reposts,…

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln on “Liberty”

When Public Diplomacy practitioners engage with counterparts from other nations, they must listen carefully when universal values are discussed.  They must find ways to clarify goals and values when language may obscure them.  Abraham Lincoln addressed this point in a plain way in his “Address at Sanitary Fair in Baltimore: A Lecture on Liberty,” on…

Enhancing the Spread of True Facts: VOA’s Expanding Role

Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett, in a wide-ranging conversation Nov. 6 with American University students and public diplomacy advocates, reminded her audience that VOA “is all about a free press.” Examples abound:  A VOA multilingual VOA team has been in Hong Kong to report pro-democracy demonstrations in that Chinese territory. Objective journalism IS public…

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,…

Two figures walk bathed in colored lights

U.S. Broadcasting Chronicles Revival in America’s Heartland

Noted columnist David Brooks recently asserted that what he termed “an American renaissance is already happening.”  He noted that as the national government appears to be divided and polarized, cities far from Washington’s corridors of power are working to transform their communities — large and small. I recently experienced this firsthand in Houston, Texas, America’s fourth…