Obama’s Impressive First Week in Strategic Communication with Muslims

by Steven R. Corman In November of last year I published an op-ed piece expressing my hope that President Barack Obama would follow-through with his campaign pledges to use humility to help repair the country’s image with Muslims abroad. In his first week in office, Obama has made two important moves in this direction.  First, he pledged to close the Guantanamo prison within a year.  The Dana Priest of the Washington Post reckons that this […] Read more »

White House Joins the Blogosphere

by Steven R. Corman Apparently one minute after Barack Obama was sworn in as President, the switch was flipped on a new whitehouse.gov website.  One interesting new feature is a blog that launched with five posts. One of those is entitled Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov and it explains that their new media efforts will center on communication, transparency and participation.  Regarding the last item, the post says that “citizen participation will be a priority […] Read more »

Slow Out of the Gate on Public Diplomacy Reform?

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday Walter Pincus at WaPo published an article entitled Clinton’s Goals Detailed that contains the first news I’ve seen about how the Obama administration intends to fix U.S. public diplomacy.  The second paragraph says: In the battle of ideas, she said, the United States would go on the offensive implementing President-elect Barack Obama’s pledges to open “America Houses” in cities across the Arab world. These facilities, fashioned after a Cold War-era […] Read more »

Give Us a Break, Mr. Bush

by Steven R. Corman At his final news conference yesterday President Bush responded to a question about whether the nation’s image needs repairing given the “damage that Gitmo, that harsh interrogation tactics that  [members of the incoming administration] consider torture, how going to war in Iraq without a UN mandate have damaged America’s moral standing in the world.”  He said: I strongly disagree with the assessment that our moral standing has been damaged.  It may […] Read more »

Why Israel’s Twitter Experiment Flopped

by Dawn R. Gilpin Israel’s deployment of social media, including a Twitter news conference over the Gaza situation, has been in the news lately. As an example of media response to these efforts in the U.S., the New York Times cited MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as having “mocked” and “marveled” at the attempt to use such a structurally stunted channel such as Twitter, with its 140-character limit, to discuss matters of complex international diplomacy. Reactions in […] Read more »

Two Agenda Items for Next Week’s Smith-Mundt Pow Wow

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday I participated in a journalists’ roundtable discussion (sponsored by the AOC) on next week’s symposium organized by blogging buddy and Smith-Mundt super-wonk Matt Armstrong.  At issue is what to do about the Smith-Mundt Act (SMA). In a nutshell, the SMA (among other things) erects a firewall preventing domestic dissemination of U.S. strategic communication directed at foreign audiences.  If you want to know more about it than that, a good place […] Read more »