Perception Hacking: the Dark Side of Public Diplomacy

Attendees at First Monday Forum got a data-drawn picture of the extent to which the world is being assaulted by disinformation and propaganda, with the United States in the bullseye.  What is public diplomacy’s role? “Perception Hacking: How Russia, China, and Iran Use (and Abuse) Western Information Platforms” was the title.  Bret Schaefer, Media and Disinformation…

Senators to Pack: If You Politicize We’ll Cut Your Budget

Seven Senators wrote to new global media director Michael Pack threatening budget cuts if the United States-supported media are politicized. The group, in an announcement June 2, expressed “deep concern” over what they termed  as a purge by the Trump administration of five senior officers of U.S. international multimedia organizations shortly after the resignation of Voice of…

“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,…

Memories of Lou Olom (1917-2019)

Lou was one of the most thoughtful, dedicated, and politically savvy public diplomacy professionals of his generation.  Louis T. Olom (1917-2019), a career civil servant, will be remembered for his many contributions to public diplomacy during the years in which it was gradually gaining acceptance as a field of professional practice in US diplomacy. Lou’s…

U.S. Public Diplomacy losing to Public Affairs?

That will be the question tomorrow when the senior public diplomacy official, Michelle Giuda, appears before the Advisory Commission for Public Diplomacy to discuss the ongoing merger of two bureaus under her aegis. The Council is co-hosting this event with the Advisory Commission at at George Washington University Elliott School’s Lindner Family Commons, 1957 E…