Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 23-25 Public Diplomacy Review

"3. Eye Servant"

--A term describing a servant who did his duty only lazily except when within sight of his master, "a form of insincerity known as 'eye-service'"; from Erin McCarthy,"16 Weird Forgotten English Words We Should Bring Back,"; via a Facebook friend


Exhibition of the Month: Is It Propaganda? Or Is It Political Art? - "Is It Propaganda? Or Is It Political Art? is the latest exhibition to open at the Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art Gallery in Washington, DC.

Assembled from the personal collection of the veteran PBS and Washington Post foreign correspondent, the exhibition features political and poster art from Cold War USSR, Cuba, Ukraine, China, Poland, Germany and the US."


GRTV: Propaganda and the Ukraine Crisis -- Full Length Documentary - Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research: "This full length GRTV documentary produced by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya examines the fictitious land of 'Nulandistan' (named after Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland) that has been constructed out of Ukraine. It depicts how the realities of crimes against humanity and political oppression involving terrorist mobs are casually replaced by a World of fiction, in which real 'Western style democracy' prevails.

It deconstructs the rhetoric and propaganda of the Obama Administration and its European allies regarding the crisis in Ukraine and takes a look at their growing frustration towards the Russian media, particularly RT, for challenging their account of events on the ground in what they have declared is an intensifying 'information war'." Image from

Cannes doc: hockey used for Cold War propaganda - "'Red Army’ is the story of the Soviet Union’s world dominance in ice hockey during the Cold War and how it was used as a propaganda tool. An engaging story that is as much about life in Russia then and now as it is about ice hockey, the documentary is presented out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Director Gabe Polsky, a hockey player himself and the son or Russian immigrants, said it was the ‘Red Army’ team’s collective style on the ice that drew his interest, as opposed to the American game, which relied on brutal individuality."


Release: Looking Ahead to Egypt’s Uncertain Summer of Trials and Tribulations - Anne Shoup, "The Obama administration has tried to send two conflicting messages to Cairo: one of displeasure regarding the current political situation and human rights abuses and the other of common cause on emerging security challenges in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere.

The result has been a public diplomacy muddle about what the United States stands for and what it wants to see happen in Egypt. President Barack Obama may aspire to strike a balance between a tough and smart approach on counterterrorism while still backing democracy and human rights around the world, but Egypt is the toughest test case for this approach." Image from

Fact Sheet and Report: President Obama Visits Cooperstown to Highlight Travel and Tourism That Is Growing our Economy and Creating Jobs -- The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, For Immediate Release, May 22, 2014 - posted at "Background on Today's New Steps to Increase International Visitors to the United States ... [among them] Partnering with Brand USA, the country's nonprofit travel promotion corporation, to develop thematic tourism diplomacy campaigns. An expanded year-long global culinary tourism campaign will culminate at the World Expo in Milan, Italy, in May 2015. In preparation, agencies are coordinating a pilot public diplomacy culinary tourism campaign in five target posts in East Asia (China, Taiwan, Australia, Japan and South Korea) to promote U.S. tourism and agricultural exports around embassies July 4 festivities, through an integrated recipe book with articles and photos highlighting U.S. tourism destinations, a social media toolkit, promotional collateral and American chef visits."

Public Diplomacy as a Corrective Lens? - Emily T. Metzgar, "[I]n discussion focused on the pervasive presence of American popular culture overseas, Bayles’ book Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad, provides new context for discussion surrounding the question 'whither American public diplomacy?' ... The challenge to American policymakers as suggested by Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad is to find a path toward more concerted, coordinated, and consistent contestation of inaccurate narratives about the United States and the Americans who live there.

Bayles has offered a well-reasoned argument that, taken to its logical conclusion, calls for big-picture, long-term, strategic thinking about effective allocation of America’s public diplomacy resources. The question of whether such a proactive approach is even possible is one that Bayles refrains from tackling, but it is one worth considering for future discussions." Bayles image from

What if Barbara Walters Were the Next Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy? - Cari E. Guittard, "Wouldn’t it be incredible if by some miracle

Barbara Walters became the next Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy at State? It strikes me that not only is Walters one of the most impressive Brand Ambassadors the U.S. has right now, she is one of the few people on this planet who knows how to connect and empathize across the widest of spectrums. ... She would never take the job of course." Image from entry

Guy W. Farmer: Our dysfunctional international radio/TV stations - "I’ve written a couple of recent columns about mismanagement in our Washington, D.C.-based federal bureaucracy and today I’ll offer another egregious example of federal mismanagement. It’s called the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), and it spends more than 700 million taxpayer dollars per year to operate the Voice of America (VOA) and several other international radio and TV stations. We’re not getting our money’s worth, and I’ll tell you why. Presumably, our government operates international radio and TV stations in order to report the news and support, defend and explain U.S. foreign policy objectives. But some of BBG’s broadcasting professionals think their mission is to entertain foreign audiences, and the agency’s byzantine management structure is so convoluted that many of those government broadcasters do whatever they want to do with little oversight or supervision by those who pay the bills. Our best known international broadcaster, the Voice of America, produces 200 radio and TV programs in 45 languages with a budget of approximately $200 million per year. Both the VOA and BBG have come under congressional fire lately, however, for failing to tailor their programs to U.S. foreign policy objectives. For example, the new Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Richard Stengel, the former editor of Time magazine, recently took the Kremlin’s TV network, Russia Television (RT), to task for broadcasting anti-American 'propaganda' and criticized Moscow for cancelling the Voice of America’s reciprocal permit to broadcast to Russian audiences. The VOA failed to cover the story.

Shortly thereafter, as Foreign Policy magazine reported, 'A pair of powerful lawmakers in the House of Representatives agreed on major legislation to overhaul the Voice of America and other government-funded broadcasting outlets. The new legislation . . . would settle a long-running dispute within the federal government about whether VOA should function as a neutral news organization rather than a messaging tool of Washington.' That was already a contentious issue when I supervised VOA’s Spanish-language broadcasting to Latin America in the late 1970s, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to resolve because the 1976 Voice of America Charter, which has the force of law, directs VOA broadcasters to report the news AND support U.S. foreign policy objectives. In the words of the Charter, the VOA will: (1) 'serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative news source,' (2) 'present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions,' and (3) 'present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively.' I think that’s a crystal clear mission statement. Some of the broadcasters who worked for me at the Voice considered themselves to be 'independent journalists,' and shied away from the Charter’s foreign policy objective even though they received government paychecks. 'I don’t do politics,' one of them told me. He changed his mind, however, after I threatened to suspend him. ... America’s Voice and other taxpayer-funded broadcasters should adhere to the venerable VOA Charter by covering the news and presenting U.S. foreign policies clearly and effectively. Guy W. Farmer worked at VOA during the period 1977-79." Uncaptioned image from entry

House passage of Hitler-Stalin Pact ‘Black Ribbon Day’ bill ignored by Voice of America, mismanagement continues [includes video] - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "With Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Matt Armstrong calling House Foreign Affairs bipartisan bill to reform the Voice of America (VOA) 'less than inarticulate' (sic) and rebuking members of Congress for being 'overly harsh' and 'not fair' in criticizing mismanagement at the U.S. taxpayer-funded international media outreach entity, it was no surprise that VOA had failed to report to Russia and other countries on the passage on May 22 in the U.S. House of Representatives of another important legislation designating August 23 as a 'Black Ribbon Day'

to commemorate the victims of both Soviet communist and Nazi terror. ... In his public remarks last week to VOA staffers, Armstrong was referring to bipartisan legislation, the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490), passed unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to reform and recast US Government international broadcasting. He called the bill’s language 'inappropriate.' The bipartisan bill to reform U.S. international media is available on the US House of Representatives House Foreign Affairs Committee website: Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting. When BBG Governor Armstrong called the language of the bipartisan reform bill 'less than inarticulate' (sic) and even 'inappropriate,' he was also sending a message to Voice of America executives, employees, members of Congress and congressional staffers that most of the criticism of the agency’s management in legislation was 'overly harsh' and 'not fair.' Nothing could be further from the truth. Because of numerous failures by senior executives, the Voice of America continues to miss significant news stories related to Russia and Ukraine that come from the White House, the State Department, the U.S. Congress, Washington think tanks, human rights organizations, and various other U.S. groups and communities. ... The latest example that significant management shortcomings are not being addressed despite Governor Armstrong’s assurances to the contrary is the VOA’s failure to notice the House of Representatives passage of a resolution that challenges many of the current propaganda claims coming from the Kremlin and its media. Even Governor Armstrong admitted that Voice of America programs should offer foreign audiences news that counter propaganda with the truth." See also (1) (2). Image from

Dempsey: Changing World Requires New Strategies - Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service: "The world has changed and because of it, protecting NATO’s eastern and southern flanks has to be a priority, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said today at the end of the NATO Chiefs of Defense Meeting in Brussels. On the eastern flank the threat comes from Russia acting in what Dempsey described as a dangerous and provocative manner. The southern flank is different.

'Dealing with the threats and influences that are emanating out of the Middle East and North Africa into NATO’s southern flank requires more than just the military instrument of power,' he said. 'It requires cooperation with law enforcement, public diplomacy, border control, customs, and that’s not something that comes naturally to NATO.'” Image from entry, with caption: U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listens to comments and reviews notes during NATO Chiefs of Defense meetings in Brussels, May 21, 2014.

Iran nuclear talks hit snag over sanctions - "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on May 21, 'Today, the nuclear negotiation is progressing and is on the threshold of reaching a conclusion,' and called for the parties to stop making excuses. Former lead nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, a conservative and close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on May 22, 'We should permit the (Iranian) nuclear negotiation team to proceed with its programs in the framework of (the Supreme Leader’s proposed) 'heroic lenience' and we should all assist them in their bid to materialize the nation’s rights.'

The optimistic public diplomacy may be masking some concerns among Iranian leaders about several deadlocked technical issues, as well as questions about the US commitment to lifting sanctions in what Iran would consider a reasonable timetable." Uncaptioned image from entry

For Want of a Camera - Evelyn Gordon, "A year ago, I thought the penny had finally dropped: The IDF announced with great fanfare that it had finally decided to train soldiers to film operations in the field. But it now turns out this vaunted project comprises all of 24 cameramen–24 people to provide round-the-clock coverage of the entire West Bank plus the Gaza border. It’s a joke. And not a very funny one. There’s no reason why every single soldier couldn’t be equipped with a small, wearable camera that would operate automatically. This would have the additional benefit of cutting down on real abuses, from which no army is completely immune. Indeed, several Western countries have experimented with policemen wearing such cameras, and they have generally led to reductions in both real brutality and false claims of brutality. But what seems like a no-brainer to me evidently isn’t so obvious to Israel’s chronically public-diplomacy-challenged government and army. Otherwise, they would have done something about it by now."

NIF Vows to March in New York City Despite 'Hollow Marionettes': New Israel Fund, Im Tirtzu, ratchet up pugnacious rhetoric as Celebrate Israel march draws near - Gil Ronen, "The New Israel Fund and its opponents, led by grassroots Zionist student group Im Tirtzu, are ratcheting up their pugnacious rhetoric as the contested Celebrate Israel march draws near. Im Tirtzu and other critics of the NIF did not want the highly controversial fund and the groups it supports to take part in the march. ... Im Tirtzu, a longtime opponent of the New Israel Fund, recently joined the ongoing campaign by Zionist groups in the United States that are trying to keepthe fund and the groups it supports out of the Celebrate Israel parade.

Im Tirtzu, which has focused on Israeli campuses until now, has launched a large scale public diplomacy campaign against the NIF that focuses on social networks, and on English and Hebrew news publications that cater to Jewish and Israeli-expatriate communities in North America. The campaign's pamphlet and advertisements portray the NIF as a wolf in sheep's clothing." Uncaptioned image from entry

Media Watch Dog 226: Rachel Griffiths calls Jon Faine; and Q and A’s dodgy audience analysis [scroll down link for item]: Gerard Henderson, "This is what Mark Scott told Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast on Wednesday 14 May: Mark Scott: I think on Australia Network there can be debate around where public diplomacy money is best spent. What we find confusing and disappointing about this is that we signed a deal with the Department of Foreign Affairs for Australia Network less than 12 months ago and we’ve hit all our agreed targets — we’re growing audiences, we have some tremendous partnerships with broadcasters in the region, we’re a real leader on social media. So we’re doing what we agreed was important to do. And so if a decision is made to cut that it’s clearly nothing to do with performance. And I would have thought that for $20 million a year, it represents exceptional value for money — to reach out and connect with our neighbours in the region. It’s a real person to person diplomatic initiative, rather than being on the diplomatic cocktail circuit. So I’m very surprised that they don’t think that that’s value for money."

Whoever said ‪#‎Russia‬ doesn't have ‪#‎softpower‬ or ‪#‎publicdiplomacy‬..? "Far-Right Fever for a ‪#‎Europe‬ Tied to Russia"

Kishan S Rana: For the foreign ministry, a task within the country's borders: Under the new and more federal dispensation, the ministry of external affairs should reach out to the states - Kishan S Rana, "[T]oday's foreign ministries are preoccupied with home events as never before. The arrival of the Narendra Modi government reinforces that truth for the ministry of external affairs, or MEA. ... So how might the MEA reach out to India's 28 states in foreign affairs? What might be the MEA's new domestic agenda? ... [by] engag[ing] non-state actors (NSAs)... MEA has made a start on this, with its annual two-day conference of academics that commenced in 2012, as a public diplomacy initiative. Other actions take place quietly, such as an informal forum of West Asia scholars that meets with Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is a notable expert on this region. What is needed are more such arrangements, preferably institutionalised, where clusters of officials and scholars engage in dialogue on key regions and countries. In years past, mutual disdain between officials specialised in regions and their counterpart scholars was fuelled by monopolist mindsets over information. Today, globalisation has meant that scholars are as well travelled and internationally connected as anyone else."

Next Level Day One - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Just jumping right into my next life as a cultural diplomacy roadie and public diplomacy camp counselor..."

See also: Next Level Day Two: Verbal and Nonverbal. Uncaptioned image from


Remarks at the 90th Anniversary of the United States Foreign Service -- Remarks, John Kerry, Secretary of State, Benjamin Franklin Room, Washington, DC, May 22, 2014 - [T]here’s something special about being America. It really is different. You think about almost any other country in the world, and almost all of them are defined by bloodline or defined by ethnicity or defined by lines that were drawn in a peace agreement or in the end of colonialism or by leaders like Winston Churchill and others sitting in a room and this will be this and this will be that. Not America. We must never forget that what makes America different from other nations is not a common bloodline. It’s not a common religion or a common ideology or a common heritage. It’s actually what makes us different is actually an uncommon idea that all men are created equal and that everybody has these unalienable rights. We are an idea. Unlike other countries, we are an idea.

And in our idea, every American gets to fill it out and define it over time. So that’s what the calling of good diplomacy is. It’s filling out the idea and exporting it to other people in the world. And we are working – all of us together – to try to create order where there is none, to bring stability out of chaos, to fix what is broken, and to make this complicated world just a little bit less complicated and a lot more free. And that’s really worth the effort. See also. Image from

Muslim cleric who backed fatwa on ‘killing of U.S. soldiers’ promoted by State Dept. - Adam Kredo, The State Department’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Bureau promoted on Friday a controversial Muslim scholar whose organization has reportedly backed Hamas and endorsed a fatwa authorizing the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The CT bureau on Friday tweeted out a link to the official website of Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a controversial organization founded by a Muslim Brotherhood leader “who has called for the death of Jews and Americans and himself is banned from visiting the U.S.,” according to Fox News. Terrorism analyst Patrick Poole said that the State Department must more carefully choose the Muslim leaders it promotes.  “This administration is continuing to push extremist clerics like Bin Bayyah as part of a fantasy foreign policy that somehow they are somehow a counter to al Qaeda,” Poole said. “But in Bin Bayyah’s case, it was his organization that issued the fatwa allowing for the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and said it was a duty for Muslims all over the world to support the Iraqi ‘resistance’ against the United States that gave religious justification for al Qaeda’s terrorism.

John Kerry’s three delusions about Mideast peace - Aaron David Miller, Washington Post, posted at: "John Kerry’s recent failed effort to get the Israelis and the Palestinians closer to a peace agreement shows what happens when you see the world the way you want it to be rather than the way it really is. The good news is that the negotiations wouldn’t have started without Kerry. But that’s the bad news, too. He wanted talks far more than the Israelis and the Palestinians did. The secretary of state fell into one of the classic traps of negotiation and mediation: He became convinced of his own indispensability and centrality to the process — and badly exaggerated his ability to achieve a breakthrough. I’ve worked for several of his predecessors, and never have I encountered a more self-confident secretary of state.

Willful, relentless and a true believer in a two-state solution, Kerry miscalculated his role in three ways: He thought it was his time; it wasn’t. He thought he had the persuasive skills to pull it off; he didn’t. And he thought that this was his last chance; it wasn’t that, either. Kerry cannot scare Israeli and Palestinian leaders into doing things they don’t want to do. And this approach is an empty demonstration of American resolve and power, particularly if it’s not backed up by the White House." Image from

Nigeria Welcomes Allies in Combating Boko Haram: My government's efforts to free the kidnapped girls are part of a larger effort to stop the al Qaeda-linked terrorists - Ade Adefuye, Wall Street Journal: We are immensely grateful that the U.S. and other world powers are now recognizing the severity of the threat we face in Nigeria.

Contrary to the suggestions of some in the U.S. Congress, there is no need for unilateral action by those outside Nigeria: America and the rest of the international community will find no ally more willing and committed than Nigeria to taking action against terrorists. Mr. Adefuye is the Nigerian ambassador to the United States. Image from

U.S. needs a strong moral narrative to combat Putin - Paula J. Dobriansky, The Washington Post, posted at: The United States must lead in articulating a new Western strategy, beginning with a presidential speech that explains why, after decades of efforts to integrate Russia into Western institutions, Putin’s regime must be treated as an adversary. Debunking Putin’s pseudohistorical claims and reminding people that the Soviet Union was a “prison of nations” and that numerous Central and Eastern European countries have joined NATO and the European Union precisely to maintain their independence from Moscow should be at the core of this speech. It should also expose the moral pathologies of Putin’s government, including its authoritarianism, xenophobia, religious intolerance and bigotry against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Such a speech also would convey to Russia’s people that Putin’s doctrine is incongruous with true Russian interests. Putin’s propaganda and suppression of press freedoms have allowed Moscow to misrepresent the treatment of Russian speakers in Ukraine and hide its role in instigating unrest in that country. For audiences in the United States and elsewhere, the speech should explain why, despite pressing domestic problems, the United States must counter Putin’s policies.

Internet is the new diplomatic battleground in the information war - Igor Rozin, RBTH: The diplomatic confrontation between Russia and the U.S. on Ukraine is being played out not only via traditional channels, but increasingly on social networks and in comments on media sites.

The internet has become the principal battleground for the new breed of state-sponsored information war, and neither side is afraid of getting its hands dirty. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the online propaganda conflict has been the open participation of state organs in the debate. For the first time, journalists, experts and those with something to say have been joined on the internet barricades by representatives of the U.S. State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry, as both sides fight to make themselves heard above the din. Image from entry, with caption:The Russia-U.S. confrontation is increasingly being played out online.

Poland's Walesa says the US no longer world leader - Poland's former president and Nobel Peace laureate, Lech Walesa, said Friday he plans to urge President Barack Obama to take a more active world leadership role when he visits Poland in June. Speaking to The Associated Press, Walesa said "the world is disorganized and the superpower is not taking the lead. I am displeased." The former Solidarity leader said that when he meets Obama in Warsaw, he wants to tell him that the U.S. should inspire and encourage the world into positive action. "The point is not in having the States fix problems for us or fight somewhere, no," Walesa said. "The States should organize us, encourage us and offer programs, while we, the world, should do the rest. This kind of leadership is needed." "I will say: Either you want to be a superpower and guide us, or you should give the superpower to Poland and we will know what to do with it. Amen," said Walesa, who is known for sometimes abrasive comments.

How Russia's Journalists Serve the Fatherland - Michael Bohm, Moscow Times: The Kremlin is using all of its resources to win the information war against the U.S. over Ukraine. The latest tool was a May 5 award ceremony in the Kremlin in honor of 300 Russian journalists, most of whom work for state-controlled media, for their "objective coverage of events in Crimea." The award, given for "outstanding service to the Fatherland," is one of the highest honors bestowed by the government on citizens for "strengthening the Russian state."

What is strange about the award is that it was top secret. As is the custom in Russia, President Vladimir Putin had to sign a decree, No. 269, to give the journalists this high government award, but the decree never appeared on the presidential website. Between decrees 268 and 270 was a gaping hole. At the same time, however, it makes sense that the Kremlin wanted to keep the awards secret. After all, it is fighting a fierce information war with the West, and these journalists from state-controlled media outlets are on the front line of this battle to present Russia's version of the Ukrainian crisis in the best possible manner. Like in any war, the government needs to keep the "fighting spirit" high. Via HS on Facebook. Image from

America, China and the Hacking Threat - Editorial, New York Times: The Justice Department’s decision to indict five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for fraud is understandable as a feel-good gesture and seems within the parameters of American law. As a matter of substance, though, it is pointless and perhaps counterproductive. China, as a rising economic power, believes that ferreting out the business secrets of foreign companies is a national security interest. One day, however, it will have its own pathbreaking achievements and will want to protect them. The responsible thing would be for China to work with the United States now to establish rules of the road that would reduce economic hacking and equip the two countries with strategies for reacting to cyberattacks during military-related tensions. Washington should make clear that the option for dialogue on cyberissues remains open, even as it pursues its legal case.

Russia faces tough road to success - Dmitri Trenin, China Daily: The evolving confrontation between Russia and the United States is being largely waged in the fields of economic sanctions and information warfare. US trade relations with Russia are fairly weak ($26 billion in bilateral trade in 2013), so Washington is pressing the European Union countries (with $370 billion in trade with Russia in 2013) to hit Russia hard.

The Ukraine crisis came in part as a US response to Russia's growing toughness, as evidenced, for example, in its handling of the Syrian crisis and the Edward Snowden affair. Putin believes the era of US global dominance is coming to an end. Pursuant to that conclusion, Russia's foreign policy has been seeking ways to strengthen ties with leading non-Western powers, above all China and India, and other emerging economies, from Brazil to Egypt to Indonesia to Iran. This will not be easy, in view of Russia's relatively weak and currently stagnant economy, but not entirely impossible, because in fields such as armaments and nuclear energy, space technology and grain exports, Russia continues to be a leading player. Image from

Hilarious Anti-China U.S. Propaganda Smoked by Online Ad - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Your FBI is concerned that bonehead Americans will travel overseas to enemy-controlled territory such as China and be recruited as spies. Since this apparently sort-of happened once to one total dumbass kid, the FBI turned right around and spent a boatload of your taxpayer dollars to make a cheesy video, albeit one with professional actors and Hollywood-level technical production qualities. The video explains how to become a Chinese spy so you don’t do that.

If you’d like to see this 21st century version of those hygiene movies once shown in health classes across America (Reefer Madness for STDs), you need only drop by the Facebook page of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). What, you didn’t know that the U.S. government organization responsible for coordinating all spying for America had a Facebook page? Silly you. It’s here. We’ll leave the question of who the 23,000 people who “like” the page are aside for now. Image from entry

A Chinese infatuation with ‘House of Cards’ - Ruth Marcus, Washington Post:
To Chinese viewers, “House of Cards” serves as a streaming-video CliffsNotes to the U.S. political system. The depiction of politics as a noble calling on “The West Wing” arrived before the Internet era, yet the conspiratorial, manipulative worldview of “House of Cards” is a more fitting match for this edgy moment in U.S.-Sino relations. It is unsurprising that the series, offered here on the video service Sohu, attracts an above-average proportion of government workers.

Cute cartoon is Israel’s new weapon in propaganda war against Iran - Hugh Tomlinson, Middle East Times: Israel has unveiled the latest effort in its propaganda campaign against Iran’s nuclear programme, releasing a cute cartoon to warn

of the dangers of an Islamic Republic with atomic weapons. Released online and clearly targeting the American public, the cartoon sets out, in the simplest possible terms, the global threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambition. Image from entry

Iran court convicts editor of banned daily - An Iranian court has convicted the editor and a contributor of a banned newspaper over a series of charges, including lying about Islam and spreading anti-regime propaganda, reports say. The media watchdog banned the reformist

Bahar daily in October 2013 after it published an article the authorities deemed as an insult to Shiite Islam for questioning one of its core beliefs. Its editor-in-chief, Saeed Pourazizi, who was detained and released on bail following the closure, was on Sunday convicted of 'propaganda against the establishment and spreading lies and rumours,' ISNA news agency reported. Image from entry

North Korea's pro-wrestling propaganda machine - Catherine A Traywick, It seems like it was just yesterday that self-described "basketball diplomat" Dennis Rodman was in Pyongyang shooting hoops and inciting international outrage. Such was the backlash against his recent trip that he's since vowed never to visit North Korea again - but the DPRK isn't ready to abandon its lofty hopes for sports diplomacy. Later this year, Pyongyang will host an international pro-wrestling event bringing together American, Japanese and other wrestlers, in the spirit of "independence, peace and friendship", according to The Wall Street Journal. The exact date and line-up of wrestlers haven't been finalised yet, but if it's anything like its 1995 predecessor - a massive, meticulously choreographed event titled "Collision in Korea" - it will be a spectacular display of political propaganda.

The world's most miserable countries - Thomas C. Frohlich, USA Today: World news does not always fully capture people's level of happiness. Last year, Gallup found a majority of people in the world experienced positive emotions. Of course, in some countries and regions people were much more positive than others. People living in the countries experiencing the most positive emotions were the most likely to report high levels of enjoyment, smiling and a good night's sleep. The people in the most miserable countries, on the other hand, were the least likely to experience these emotions.

The Art of Propaganda and Democracy - Almost all the countries around the world have their propaganda machinery constantly milling edifice after edifice of lies upon lies misinforming their own people and others.

The Hornet’s Nest: Directed by David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud -- Propaganda billed as a documentary manages to make war boring - Noah Gittell, In its press notes, The Hornet’s Nest is billed as “an action/drama made with 100% real footage” and a “groundbreaking and immersive feature film.” It’s never quite clear what this means, but there is another phrase that accurately describes the film’s genre: war propaganda.

The Hornet’s Nest paints a glowing portrait of the troops, but it’s also hopelessly narrow, avoiding any complexity or nuance. It’s not just that it doesn’t ask the hard questions; it doesn’t see anything worth asking about. Image from entry, with caption: Cut on the Bias: File The Hornet’s Nest under “war propaganda.”


You Can Learn A Lot About America From Each State’s Internet Search History - America’s fifty states have a lot in common, but if their internet search histories are any indication they also have significant differences. Estately ran hundreds of search queries through Google Trends to determine which words, terms, and questions each state was searching for more than any other. The results ranged from mildly amusing to completely disturbing. No doubt this information will come in handy for anyone trying to decide which state they want to buy a home in, especially for those curious how their potential neighbors spend their time online. The results on the map above are just the tip of the online search iceberg. Via LH on Facebook. See also.


Restaurant with "No Weapons, No Concealed Weapons Firearms" Sign Robbed at Gunpoint -


"The last section of 'The Third Plate" imagines a Blue Hill tasting menu in 2050. Its six courses include farmed trout with farmed phytoplankton and a parsnip steak with a Bordelaise sauce made from grass-fed beef bones."

--Euginia Bone, "Book Review: 'The Third Plate' by Dan Barber: Serving a carrot dish as a main course? That better be one delicious carrot," Wall Street Journal




--Via LMH on Facebook


--Piergiorgio Branzi, White Pigeon, 1954; via DP on Facebook

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