Wednesday, October 31, 2012

R you the real Murrow? Or, Public Diplomacy and Accuracy

Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Remarks for Edward R. Murrow Program For Journalists, October 29, 2012:

"And then I came to the State Department, where I now oversee the Department of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department, which is known as 'R.' ... Edward Roscoe Murrow was the first director of the United States Information Agency – which in 1999 became part of the Department for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. He was the founding father of public diplomacy – this Edward 'R' Murrow … . Stands to reason we’d call our department 'R.'"


Actually, Edward R. Murrow was the fourth director of USIA. His predecessors were Theodore Streibert (1953-1956), Arthur Larson (1956-1957), and George V. Allen (1957-1960). See. It would also be more accurate to say that Murrow was "a," rather than "the" founding father of public diplomacy. The coinage of the term "public diplomacy" in its modern meaning is generally attributed to Dean Edmund Gullion in 1965 -- the year Murrow regrettably passed away.

Which leads me to repeat what was said in that propaganda state, the former Soviet Union: "We never know what will happen yesterday."

Or, even better, to quote blogger extraordinaire Paul Rockower, himself quoting Mark Twain, regarding the above statement by the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, "never let the facts get in the way of a good story :)."

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