A little-known legal restriction on U.S. public diplomacy,
despite being rendered unenforceable long ago by technological
advances like the Internet, continues to damage America's global
At issue is Section 501 of the U.S. Information and Educational
Exchange Act of 1948 (Smith-Mundt Act), the legislation underlying
America's overseas informational and cultural programs. While
the act is rightly hailed for establishing the programming mandate
that still serves as the foundation for U.S. outreach, it has one
serious drawback: It prohibits domestic dissemination of
information designed for foreign consumption, ostensibly so as to
ban "domestic propaganda." Yet in this age of instant and global
communication, expecting to prevent such public information from
reaching Americans is unrealistic and technologically
In the war on terrorism, this restriction is worse than an
anachronism: It amounts to self-sabotage. Until Congress relegates
this piece of legislation to the dustbin of history, the U.S.
cannot expect to conduct public diplomacy effectively.
Anyone who tries to order English-language publications from the
State Department's on-line catalog will learn that "the Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs is prohibited from distributing
its print materials in the United States by the Smith-Mundt Act." This
bureau is just one of many U.S. agencies inhibited by Section 501
and its prohibition on disseminating information about their
activities overseas for fear that unsuspecting Americans might hear
about them. Notable among such activities are taxpayer-funded
humanitarian and democracy-assistance programs, including the
grantees and contractors of the U.S. Agency for International
In 2003, the Djerejian Commission, a bipartisan advisory group
on public diplomacy, reported to Congress:
When we asked the administrator of USAID how much of his budget
of $13 billion goes to public diplomacy, [the USAID administrator]
answered "Almost none." He explained that AID is generally
prohibited to disseminate information about its activities--a
restriction that the Advisory Group recommends be ended
USAID public outreach is subject to the same limits as the rest
of the government, and any information disseminated abroad is much
more likely to reach a domestic audience today than it was six
decades ago. As a result, understandably cautious bureaucrats
choose to err on the side of legality.
A year later, after chastising the State Department for still
paying insufficient heed to the Djerejian Commission, Congress
passed a law requiring the Secretary of State to ensure that
information about U.S. foreign assistance is being widely
disseminated, especially "within countries and regions that receive
such assistance." USAID's Bureau for Legislative and Public
Affairs has since been trying to do the best it can to comply. Yet
the ban against domestic "propaganda" predictably continues to
exert a chilling effect on U.S. public diplomacy, not only at
USAID, but at all other agencies that engage in international
As a result, American generosity is virtually unknown at home
and abroad. The Djerejian Commission also mentions asking the USAID
administrator: "How many people in the Arab and Muslim world, or
anywhere else for that matter, know the extent of AID's
activities?" The answer--"Too few"--is unfortunately still
accurate. Paradoxically, as global surveys keep finding that the
United States is increasingly misunderstood and maligned across
every continent and as U.S. popularity keeps descending to one more
"all-time low," the U.S. ties its own hands by failing to
let people know about the billions of dollars that the U.S. is
spending to help others throughout the world.
Ever since the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) was abolished by
the Clinton Administration in 1999, and even more so since 9/11,
reports on how to improve public diplomacy have proliferated. Most
recommend increased expenditures, reorganization, coordination, and
strategic direction--all of which are worth taking seriously. Yet
the first step, before adding money to boost the programs that work
or cutting those that do not, must be to allow free and unfettered
dissemination of information.
Far from constituting support for "propaganda," repealing
Section 501 of the Smith-Mundt Act would be a move in the direction
of transparency and freedom of information. Instead of shielding
Americans from learning about how their government assists and
communicates with foreign publics, Congress should ensure that
taxpayers are made aware of those efforts. They could then become
better partners as America seeks to engage in more effective
Section 501 reads:
The Secretary [of State] is authorized, when he finds it
appropriate, to provide for the preparation, and dissemination
abroad, of information about the United States, its people, and its
policies, through press, publications, radio, motion pictures, and
other information media, and through information centers and
instructors abroad. Any such information (other than "Problems of
Communism" and the "English Teaching Forum" which may be sold by
the Government Printing Office) shall not be disseminated within
the United States, its territories, or possessions, but, on
request, shall be available in the English language at the
Department of State, at all reasonable times following its release
as information abroad, for examination only by representatives of
United States press associations, newspapers, magazines, radio
systems, and stations, and by research students and scholars, and,
on request, shall be made available for examination only to Members
The original 1948 legislation has since been modified slightly.
For example, a 1994 amendment clarifies that it "shall not prohibit
the [USIA] from responding to inquiries from members of the public
about its operations, policies, or programs." The negligible
nature of this modification was underscored later that year when
USIA began publishing its English-language news stories on the
Internet with a disclaimer stating that the information is intended
for international audiences only. The self-constraint
Moreover, being allowed to respond is not
tantamount to being required to respond. When Essential
Information, Inc., a nonprofit citizen activist group founded in
1982 by Ralph Nader, asked the USIA in February 1996 for six months
of agency records, the request was denied. Essential Information,
joined by several other groups associated with Nader, sued for the
records in May 1996, but the federal district court in Washington,
D.C., ruled in November 1996 that the Smith-Mundt Act is one of the
statutes requiring confidentiality in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act's Exemption 3.
Efforts to make a distinction between domestic and foreign
propaganda are a quintessentially American phenomenon. Other
democratic countries have shown much less concern about this
issue--to say nothing of totalitarian propaganda, which essentially
does not separate foreign and domestic targets. Of course,
totalitarian propaganda is considerably more sophisticated. For one
thing, it massages certain messages to influence audiences abroad
more effectively. Slogans designed for home consumption
tend to rely less on semantics and more on tanks and the secret
How Section 501 Hurts American
To summarize, Section 501 hampers public understanding of the
U.S. government's activities and prevents serious oversight and
evaluation by members of the public. Occasional Government
Accountability Office reports indicating strengths and
weaknesses are a poor substitute for transparency.
No less critical, the provision inhibits dissemination of
information about U.S. outreach activities abroad. In addition to
USAID, this affects other services including U.S.-funded
broadcasting. James Glassman, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of
Governors, outlined the problem in a recent Wall Street
Journal op-ed article:
During his testimony Monday [September 10, 2007], U.S.
Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker was asked by Rep. John Boozman (R.,
Ark.), "Can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do
to get the hearts and minds through the media?" Mr. Crocker
replied, "We still have a way to go both in Iraq and the
As chairman of the agency that directs the U.S. government's
international broadcasting effort--radio, television and the
Internet--I agree. In a powerful report on jihadist exploitation of
the Web, Daniel Kimmage, a researcher for Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty (RFE/RL), quoted a terrorist group saying, "Media is half
the battle." That may be lowballing the situation. Media is
critical. We're making progress, but we have a way to go.
Most Americans know little about what we do today--in part
because a law called the Smith- Mundt Act limits our communications
Most Americans probably would care little about these activities
because the target audience is necessarily foreign, but both the
Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have powerful
Internet presences that could provide important research assistance
to the very people who are paying for them--the American taxpayers.
Moreover, the fact that these activities exist and are often quite
effective ought to be known.
For example, Radio Free Iraq's local correspondents, working
virtually around the clock on small salaries, have done a superb
job of delivering timely and accurate information to Iraqis while
coincidentally gathering important information useful to U.S.
troops. Some of these journalists have paid with their lives. Yet
Radio Free Iraq is underfunded and underappreciated because it is
practically unknown on Capitol Hill.
Most alarming, the provision is hurting America in the war
against terrorism. It hampers strategic communication in ways that
its original patriotic framers could never have contemplated.
British-born intelligence expert Andrew Garfield reports:
U.S. authorities handicap themselves. U.S. military lawyers fear
"blowback" to U.S. domestic audiences, which they interpret as a
violation of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which prohibited domestic
distribution of propaganda meant for foreign audiences. As a
result, U.S. commanders forbid coalition authorities to openly
engage on the Internet. This decision has ceded this key tool to
the Iraqi insurgents. The insurgents now provide, over the
Internet, self-starter kits to transform any disaffected Muslim
youth, be he in Ramadi, Rabat or Rochester, into an effective
propagandist. Such mass mobilization allows the insurgents to
overwhelm at minimal cost the expensive, pedestrian, and
ineffective strategic advertising campaigns of the coalition.
Why are we doing this to ourselves? This provision, however
well-meaning when originally conceived, is now harming the U.S.
History of "Anti-Propaganda"
The legislation's authors were both Republicans. Karl Earl Mundt
(R-SD) was a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee
and sponsor of the "Buy American" legislation. Howard Alexander
Smith (R-NJ) was elected to the Senate in 1944 after teaching
politics at Princeton University and serving as Princeton's
Smith's Princeton years coincided with President Woodrow
Wilson's heavy-handed use of propaganda to drum up support for U.S.
participation in World War I, which may have contributed to his
support for Section 501. Without a doubt, both Senator Smith and
Representative Mundt were concerned that the current Democratic
President, as well as any future President, would again use
taxpayer funds to "brainwash" voters in the United States in
History indicated that they were right to worry. The Commission
on Public Information (CPI), established by President Wilson in
April 1917, was designed principally to create a "war will" among
an ethnically diverse American population, although it reached far
beyond American shores. According to John Brown's study "The
Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States," "Wilson wanted the
CPI under his close control" and could count on George Creel, a
trusted and admiring supporter, to do his bidding. "Creel used the
latest media to win the world over to America. Movies served this
purpose perfectly. As far off as remote Siberia, CPI operatives
used the new medium with what they claimed was success."
Among the CPI's admirers was none other than Adolph Hitler, who
wrote in Mein Kampf that "the war propaganda of the English
and Americans was psychologically correct." Such endorsements were
just what the American public did not need. It recoiled in
overreaction. "Faced with the threat of Nazi and fascist propaganda
in Latin America in the 1930s, the State Department reacted not
with a counterpropaganda agency, but with the creation of the
Division of Cultural Relations (1938)." Its mandate was to use
only education and culture to accomplish its mission. Above all, it
was to stay away from anything that looked even remotely like
This attitude continued even after the trauma of World War II.
Wallace Carroll, head of the Office of War Information that was
established in 1942, agonized over the moral quandary of engaging
in what he, at least, saw as propaganda. To him, that meant "a
choice between giving the news and withholding it, between the
practices of journalism and the dictates of war, between the urge
to inform and the passion to save lives, between common honesty and
Yet devotion to truth seems to have been carried to extremes
that are nothing short of bizarre. "This ambivalent attitude toward
propaganda," for example, "[was] also reflected in Voice of America
broadcasts during the war years, which omitted reports on the
Holocaust for fear that they would be considered atrocity stories
and thus not be believed!" How such a decision could be considered
moral is mystifying.
Not all the ambivalence toward government broadcasting was based
on hostility to propaganda. For some, the motives were purely
commercial. Alvin Snyder, fellow at the University of Southern
California's Center for Public Diplomacy, wrote:
That law [the Smith-Mundt Act], still in force, was designed in
and for another era, when memories were still fresh of Hitler's
propaganda pounded into audiences in Nazi Germany. And American
commercial broadcasters, too, were all in favor of the Smith- Mundt
Act; the nation's radio stations were concerned about competition
from the government-funded Voice of America, so they did not want
its signal heard in the U.S. As a consequence, even informed
Americans are kept in the dark about how our tax dollars are used
to promote U.S. interests through international broadcasting.
Throughout its history, America has shunned self-advertisement,
whether at home or abroad. Examples of this nearly masochistic
reluctance to engage in public diplomacy abound.
In a way, America was lucky that the Soviet Union was such a
ruthless adversary, whose many successes in disinformation and
"active measures" were seriously undermined by its murderous
tactics and economic bankruptcy. This luck, however, is clearly
running out. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates told an audience in
Manhattan, Kansas, on November 26, 2007:
[W]e are miserable at communicating to the rest of the world
what we are about as a society and a culture, about freedom and
democracy, about our policies and our goals. It is just plain
embarrassing that al-Qaeda is better at communicating its message
on the internet than America.
Why Is This Provision Still on the
When asked about this provision at a Council on Foreign
Relations meeting on public diplomacy on October 11, 2007, David
Abshire, president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency,
stated unequivocally: "It is violated every day." Given the
technological impossibility of preventing any form of public
communication from reaching Americans, Dr. Abshire's statement is
self-evidently true, which begs the question of why U.S. lawmakers
consciously and recklessly continue to condone such rampant
One explanation is the political timidity of both political
parties. Reportedly, whenever its possible repeal is raised, the
fear of being accused of favoring domestic propaganda seems to stop
the debate dead in its tracks. It does not help that most of the
proponents of invigorating public diplomacy focus primarily on
increasing funding for such programs rather than on repealing old
legislation. Nor should it surprise anyone that many public
diplomats are happy with the status quo. After all, it is much
easier not to have to answer to the taxpayers, who may occasionally
feel that the content of what is being presented overseas is less
Others, especially on the far left, welcome any provision that
prevents the Defense Department from engaging in activities that
might, as one article puts it, help "develop and test multiple
courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries,
neutrals, and partners." For example, Heather Wokusch, author of
The Progressives' Handbook: Get the Facts and Make a Difference
Now, cites a 2003 Pentagon document called Information
Information Operations Roadmap detailed the U.S. military's
approach to exploiting information in order to "keep pace with
warfighter needs and support defense transformation." Personally
approved by former Defense Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld, the
document was declassified in 2006 and covers everything from the
Pentagon's plans for Computer Network Attack ("We Must Fight the
Net") to beefing up the use of Psychological Operations ("We Must
Improve PSYOP") to manipulating information through means
including: "Radio/TV/Print/Web media designed to directly modify
behavior and distributed in theater supporting military endeavors
in semi or non-permissive environment."
She notes that the document, while acknowledging the Smith-Mundt
limitations on domestic dissemination of information, fails to take
them seriously. This, she concludes, explains "why a top US general
ordered public affairs to be joined with combat PSYOP into one
'strategic communications office' in Iraq in the summer of 2004."
It is hardly obvious how coordinating communications in Iraq would
negatively affect Americans at home, except to someone who assumes
that anything that might help Defense Department activities is bad
and should be opposed by all possible means.
Perhaps the principal reason why this provision has not been
repealed is insufficient understanding of what public diplomacy
entails. Too few people, either inside or outside of government,
appreciate what it takes to engage in effective, targeted, and
strategic communication. In the current global climate, the war of
ideas is more challenging than ever.
Even the new U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and
Strategic Communication falls short of clarity. The strategy is
certainly correct that "some of America's most effective public
diplomacy is communicated not through words but through deeds, as
we invest in people through education, health care and the
opportunity for greater economic and political participation."
Yet the role of verbal communication should in no way be
downplayed. Deeds may speak louder than words, but technically they
do not "speak." In public diplomacy, words matter, and considering
all that America does, there is much to be said.
What the U.S. Should Do
The United States is the world's foremost advocate of freedom of
speech and the free exchange of ideas. The acceptance of and
support for its core values and its foreign policies depend on how
well they are communicated to people at home and abroad.
The U.S. cannot conduct effective public diplomacy unless it
uses all available tools of engagement. We are fighting a war of
ideas, and we should fight it as we would fight any real war. It
cannot be done with hands tied behind our backs, with self-imposed
constraints that make no technological and even less strategic
- Congress should immediately repeal Section 501.
- The U.S.-funded Alhurra TV should then immediately be permitted
to broadcast in the United States. While Al-Jazeera can freely
preach hatred and distortion in Arabic to Arab Americans over many
U.S. cable systems, it is nothing short of bizarre to forbid a
moderate message from reaching the same audience.
- Congress should require all agencies involved in any form of
public diplomacy to report these activities to the National
Security Adviser for a comprehensive tally.
- Until then, Congress should require the State Department,
USAID, and all other agencies conducting public diplomacy to submit
or post on the Web an annual report listing all relevant
publications and activities so that Americans can be informed of
how we are communicating our values and principles as well as our
- Congress should mandate that all public servants who engage in
public diplomacy must receive specific training and should
expressly allocate "career enhancement" funds to that purpose.
- Current ambassadors, foreign service officers, USAID employees,
and other relevant government personnel engaged in public diplomacy
outreach should be required to undergo intensive additional
training prior to their next deployment overseas.
- U.S. government grantees and contractors should be required,
rather than be forbidden, to inform the public about their
activities, contingent on security considerations.
- The U.S. government should expand its efforts to encourage the
private sector to engage in public diplomacy activities and to
provide citizen ambassadors with relevant information to help them
in this task.
The U.S. Department of State and USAID Strategic Plan for
2007-2012 recognizes the importance of ideas in today's complex and
Public perceptions of the United States directly affect our
ability to achieve our foreign policy and development assistance
objectives. The Department and USAID will lead the effort to inform
these perceptions of the United States by relating this public face
to our values and our history.
When military experts like Frank G. Hoffman write that "most
COIN (counterinsurgency) campaigns are won or lost in the political
and psychological dimensions" and emphasize the vital "importance
of communications and ideas," we should recall our
values and our history and not hesitate to face the public. If a
few Americans happen to overhear, so much the better.
Juliana Geran Pilon, Ph.D., is
Research Professor of Politics and Culture at the Institute of
World Politics and Adjunct Professor at the National Defense
AppendixA Sample of Public Diplomacy Reports
Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim
World, Changing Minds, Winning Peace: A New Strategic Direction
for U.S. Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World,
submitted to the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of
Representatives, October 1, 2003, at www.state.gov/documents/organization/24882.pdf (November
Amr, Hady, "The Need to Communicate: How to Improve U.S. Public
Diplomacy with the Islamic World," Brookings Institution
Analysis Paper No. 6, January 2004, at www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/analysis/amr
20040101.htm (November 27, 2007).
Bollier, David, The Rise of Netpolitik: How the Internet Is
Changing International Politics and Diplomacy (Queenstown, Md.:
Aspen Institute, 2003), at www.aspeninstitute.org/atf/cf/%7BDEB6F227-659B-4EC8-8F84-8DF23CA704F5%7D/NETPOLITIK.PDF
(November 27, 2007).
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Commission on
Smart Power, A Smarter, More Secure America (Washington,
D.C.: CSIS Press, 2007), at www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/071106_csiss
martpowerreport.pdf (November 27, 2007).
Center for the Study of the Presidency, An Initiative:
Strengthening U.S.-Muslim Communications, July 2003, at www.thepresidency.org/pubs/US-MuslimCommu
nications.pdf (November 27, 2007).
Defense Science Board Task Force, Managed Information
Dissemination, U.S. Department of Defense, September 2001, at
Ford, Jess T., Director, International Affairs and Trade, U.S.
General Accounting Office, "U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department
and the Broadcasting Board of Governors Expand Efforts in the
Middle East But Face Significant Challenges," GAO-04-435T,
testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging
Threats, and International Relations, Committee on Government
Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, February 10, 2004, at www.gao.gov/new.items/d04435t.pdf (November
------, "U.S. Public Diplomacy: Strategic Planning Efforts Have
Improved, But Agencies Face Significant Implementation Challenges,"
GAO-07-795T, testimony before the Subcommittee on International
Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, Committee on Foreign
Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, April 26, 2007, at www.gao.gov/new.items/d07795t.pdf (November
------, "U.S. International Broadcasting: Challenges Facing the
Broadcasting Board of Governors," GAO- 04-627T, testimony before
the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary,
Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, April
1, 2004, at www.gao.gov/new.items/d04627t.pdf (November
Independent Task Force on Public Diplomacy, "Public Diplomacy: A
Strategy for Reform," Council on Foreign Relations, July 30, 2002,
9/Task-force_final2-19.pdf (November 27, 2007).
Johnson, Stephen, and Helle Dale, "How to Reinvigorate U.S.
Public Diplomacy," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No.
1645, April 23, 2003, at www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/bg1645.cfm.
------, "Reclaiming America's Voice Overseas," Heritage
Foundation WebMemo No. 273, May 14, 2003, at www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/wm273.cfm.
Public Diplomacy Institute and The George Washington University,
Public Diplomacy Council, "Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century,"
submitted to the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, and
the Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of
Representatives, May 31, 2002.
U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, "Building Public
Diplomacy Through a Reformed Structure and Additional Resources,"
2002, at www.state.gov/documents/organization/13622.pdf (November
------, "The New Diplomacy: Utilizing Innovative Communication
Concepts That Recognize Resource Constraints," July 2003, at www.state.gov/r/adcompd/rls/22818.htm (November
U.S. General Accounting Office, U.S. International
Broadcasting: Enhanced Measure of Local Media Conditions Would
Facilitate Decisions to Terminate Language Services,
GAO-04-374, February 2004, at www.gao.gov/new.items/d04374.pdf (November
------, U.S. International Broadcasting: New Strategic
Approach Focuses on Reaching Large Audiences But Lacks
Measurable Program Objectives, GAO-03-772, July 2003, at www.gao.gov/new.items/d03772.pdf (November
Internet enables Americans as well as foreign audiences to access
the public diplomacy documents published by the U.S. government,
including those produced by the U.S. Information Agency, the former
public diplomacy entity. As one law library puts it, "in 1994, the
USIA began publishing its English-language news stories on the
INTERNET computer system. Though the stories include a disclaimer
stating that the information is intended for international
audiences only, the USIA has no way to enforce this restriction.
Furthermore, Worldnet, the federal government television service,
was transmitted by satellite, and anyone who had a satellite dish
could receive the broadcast. Thus, technology circumvented
the prohibition on domestic dissemination of USIA programs."
See American Law Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, s.v. "U.S.
Information Agency-- Further Readings," http://law.jrank.org/pages/11029/U-S-Information-Agency.html (November
27, 2007) (emphasis added).
Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab
and Muslim World, Changing Minds, Winning Peace: A New Strategic
Direction for U.S. Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim
World, submitted to the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House
of Representatives, October 1, 2003, pp. 66-67, at www.state.gov/documents/organization/24882.pdf (November
U.S. Code § 2732(d).
a comprehensive overview of Pew Research Center studies of
anti-Americanism over the course of several years, see Andrew Kohut
and Bruce Stokes, America Against the World: How We Are
Different and Why We Are Disliked (New York: Times Books,
America remains by far the most generous nation
in the world, both in official assistance and in voluntary and
private-sector donations.Accenture reported in early 2007 that
Americans privately send over $70 billion a year to developing
countries. Yet these important facts are rarely repeated or
reported. The 2007 Index of Global Philanthropy, which
compares government and private aid from developed countries to the
developing world, notes that the U.S. is "at the top of all donor
nations in absolute amounts, and...in the top third as a percentage
of gross national income.... U.S. private giving in 2005 in the
form of money, volunteer time, goods, and expertise to the
developing world, was at least $95 billion. That is three and a
half times the amount of U.S. government foreign aid." Press
release, "Hudson Institute Launches Second Annual Index of
Global Philanthropy," Center for Global Prosperity, May 21,
2007, at /static/reportimages/91D24ADD5CD58FB2CEF43B8A48E7C043.pdf (November
While Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) certainly
pressed for its absorption into the State Department, he met with
little if any resistance from then-USIA Director Joe Duffy. The
State Department subsequently designed and implemented the
restructuring of public diplomacy that resulted in its current
a partial list of such reports, see the Appendix.
22 U.S. Code § 1461(a).
22 U.S. Code § 1461-1a. The very fact
that the amendment had to clarify as late as 1985 that the
provision applies to the State Department and to USIA indicates the
uncertainty surrounding its reach. The problem is that as long as
this provision exists, it may be read to imply that the intent of
the provision was to prohibit domestic dissemination of all
information meant for overseas. That government lawyers and
bureaucrats have "extended S-M well beyond what the law intended"
is proof of the uncertainty surrounding it. J. Michael Waller,
Public Diplomacy: A Reader (Washington, D.C.: Institute of
World Politics Press, 2007), p. 488.
American Law Encyclopedia, s.v. "U.S.
Information Agency--Further Readings."
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press,
"USIA Bar on U.S. Broadcasts Exempts Transcripts from Disclosure,"
February 23, 1998, at www.rcfp.org/news/1998/0223c.html
(November 27, 2007).
Americans generally, as well as Members of
Congress and their staffs, cannot provide the necessary checks and
balance through oversight if they are unaware of the public
diplomacy materials we put out. Much of this material, according to
sources in the State Department's International Information Program
office, is less an explanation of U.S. policy than a range of
competing opinions that you find in America. It is confusing, to
say the least, for people overseas who do not live in an open
society with complete freedom of speech to see the kind of
difference of opinion we are used to on issues like global warming
and the United Nations. For examples of these types of
publications, see U.S. Department of State, International
Information Programs, Web site, at http://usinfo.state.gov (November 27,
The General Accounting Office became the
Government Accountability Office in July 2004.
James K. Glassman, "Media Is Half the
Battle," The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2007,
p. A13 (emphasis added).
He continues: "For example, production of a
DVD highlighting insurgent attacks on U.S. troops may cost less
than US$100 to make using equipment that costs less than $1,000.
Maintaining an Internet bulletin board with postings picked up by
Al-Jazeera television and then, perhaps, CNN, may cost as little as
$1,500 and certainly no more than $10,000. In contrast, the value
of the U.S. military's information contracts exceeds $250,000,000
per year, with only a fraction of the effectiveness of their
adversaries. While the impact of insurgent propaganda is obvious,
the coalition has yet to monitor enemy messages systematically at
the grass roots level. There are no standing orders or central
database to record enemy graffiti, for example. Absent such
monitoring, any coalition attempt to seize information momentum
falls short." Andrew Garfield, "The U.S. Counter-Propaganda Failure
in Iraq," The Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Fall
2007), at www.meforum.org/article/1753 (November
Wallace Carroll, Persuade or Perish
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1948).
Brown, "The Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the
For example, see my recent book: Juliana
Geran Pilon, Why America Is Such a Hard Sell: Beyond Pride and
Prejudice (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc., 2007),
esp. Part IV, "Public Diplomacy the Hard Way."
Wokusch, "Welcome to the Jungle" (emphasis
This expression is borrowed from J. Michael
Waller, Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War
(Washington, D.C.: Institute of World Politics Press, 2007).